Safety on Newfoundland’s fishing wharves

Fishing wharves include the physical wharf structure, the area surrounding the wharf, as well as docking, docked and departing vessels. They are often used for a range of fishing and non-fishing-related activities. There is little research on the occupational health and safety issues associated with work on fishing wharves. A multi-component, mixed methods study of safety on fishing wharves in Newfoundland, Canada was conducted between 2008 and 2011. The study included a review of existing research on wharf safety, 35 semi-structured interviews with stakeholders who used and/or managed wharves in 18 communities in Newfoundland; and phone interviews with a random sample of 21 Harbour Authority members and 23 dockside observers. The very limited existing research indicates there are multiple risk factors associated with work on and adjacent to wharves. In fisheries, wharf-related work can be a major source of injury among fish harvesters and shoreside workers, particularly when they are engaged in embarking/disembarking and loading/offloading activities. Newfoundland research identified the multiple user groups who utilize Newfoundland fishing wharves; perceived risks associated with work on these wharves; numbers, types and the relative severity of observed incidents; and the factors wharf users think contribute to risk on fishing wharves. We found these are diverse, complex and dynamic work environments where fishery-related work often co-exists with a broad range of other activities. Multiple OHS hazards are associated with work on fishery wharves. Those most at risk are fish harvesters and offloading crews. Accidents and close calls often involve multiple user groups.

Source : Ben Jackson , Barbara Neis , Andrew Canning , Scott MacKinnon, Safety Science, vol. 60, 2013, p. 1-12.


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