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Injury Prevention Resources for Fishing - Vessel and Crew Safety

General Safety | Vessel and Crew Safety | Diving | Fish Processing

The following links list tools, publications, and other resources to help prevent the most common injuries and illnesses in the commercial fishing industry. These resources may not meet all the requirements for health and safety in British Columbia. Please check the Workers Compensation Act, the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation, and related materials for specific WorkSafeBC requirements.

Gearing Up for Safety: Safe work practices for commercial fishing in British Columbia

Commercial fishing is one of the most dangerous occupations in British Columbia. Gearing Up for Safety addresses many common safety and health hazards in the commercial fishing industry in B.C. waters. WorkSafeBC revised this manual in collaboration with Fish SAFE and members of the Fish SAFE Advisory Committee. The safety steps included here are a direct result of industry input, and reflect what are commonly seen in B.C. waters as safe work practices.
Source: Fish SAFE and WorkSafeBC WorkSafeBC
* PDF (6.6 MB)
Updated: May 2012

Fish Spine Injuries

This brochure, created for the British Columbia fishing industry, explains the dangers of exposure to the toxic spines of dogfish, ratfish, rockfish, and sea urchins, and how to prevent fish spine injuries. Also outlined are first aid procedures, and when a spine puncture should be considered a medical emergency.
Source: WorkSafeBC WorkSafeBC
* PDF (382 KB)

Treatment Guidelines for Marine Puncture Wounds

A marine puncture wound can cause serious injury and may also result in a serious infection. This document outlines how to treat toxic fish spine puncture wounds.
Source: WorkSafeBC WorkSafeBC
* PDF (289 KB)

Practicing Safety - How to Conduct Effective Emergency Drills on Fishing Vessels

This 24-minute video demonstrates the five emergency drills regulated by WorkSafeBC for fishing vessels: fire on board, crew-member overboard, flooding, calling for help, and abandoning ship. The video outlines how to organize, safely conduct, and debrief a crew on these five drills and demonstrates the drills on both large and small vessels. (1999)
Source: WorkSafeBC WorkSafeBC
* Available in DVD format

Cold water can kill

"People working on or around the water should worry less about hypothermia and more about cold water shock, says WCB occupational safety officer Shane Neifer. "It takes time to develop hypothermia, but cold shock can kill in as little as three minutes.""
Source: WorkSafeBC WorkSafeBC, WorkSafe Magazine, February 2004
* PDF (160 KB)

Fish Harvesting Alert: 89 Fatalities 1991 to 2012

A hazard alert.
Source: WorkSafeBC WorkSafeBC
* PDF (640 KB)

160 Fishing Vessels Capsized 1975-2009

A hazard alert.
Source: WorkSafeBC WorkSafeBC
* HTML & PDF versions

West Coast Initiative to Enhance and Promote Safety Awareness in The Marine Community

MAG has released these documents to enhance and promote marine safety.
Source: MAG (Inter-Agency Marine Action Group) NOTE: The MAG is no longer in existence.

Capsize of the fishing trawler, the Hope Bay

* English version PDF (116 KB)
* Chinese version PDF (129 KB)
* Vietnamese version PDF (28 KB)

Mayday call/distress instructions

* English version PDF (85 KB)
* Chinese version PDF (108 KB)
* Vietnamese version PDF (27 KB)

Small Fishing Vessel Safety Manual

"The Masters or Operators of all fishing vessels have a duty to continuously train their crews for safety. This handbook provides information on safety on small fishing vessels (under 20 metres), and is intended primarily for vessels where the Master or Operator does not hold a certificate of competency or has limited vocational training."
Source: Transport Canada

Small Fishing Vessels

Information from Transport Canada pertinent to "vessels from 0 to 150 Gross Tons, not exceeding 24.4 metres used in Commercial Fishing or a vessel, other than a sailing ship, that takes on its load at sea from a vessel, which is engaged in catching or transporting living resources of the sea including fish and marine vegetation."
Source: Transport Canada

Commercial Fishing - Traumatic Occupational Injury

"The following tables contain links to fatality investigation reports of commercial fishing incidents that resulted in the deaths of workers."
Source: NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety)

North Pacific Fishing Vessel Owners' Association Vessel Safety Program

Contains links to training materials for sale, as well as crew safety training courses.
Source: NPFVOA
* NPFVOA Vessel Safety Program website

Alaska Fishing Boat Safety

"Commercial fishing is still a dangerous profession. If you're new to the industry, you should take a number of safety precautions. Read this section carefully; it could save your finger, your hand, or even your life."

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