Hazard Alert

Fisherman gets wound up
in trawl net on drum

At a marina a fisherman was working alone on a shrimp trawl fishing boat fitted with a gillnet drum. He was unwinding the net from the drum onto the deck so that he could attach extra weights to the net. When only a small portion of the net was left on the drum, he inadvertently put the hand-operated drum control lever into the forward position instead of neutral. He lost his balance and got entangled in the net as it started to wind quickly around the drum. Even after he let go of the lever, the drum did not stop turning because the lever was not a hold-to-run control and the foot pedal hold-to-run had been secured in the “ON” position.

When the drum finally stopped, the fisherman had been pulled around it several times so that he was completely encased in the net. Three other fishermen at the marina answered his cries for help. He sustained multiple fractures.

Safe work practices: image Injury 2008-16

  • Make sure that all equipment on board operates as intended. Never circumvent safeguards.
  • Ensure that hydraulic gillnet drum controls are hold-to-run. Never circumvent these controls. Whenever possible, all hydraulic controls should be hold-to-run.
  • Label powered equipment controls for their specific functions.
  • Keep decks, walkways, and work areas free of tripping and slipping hazards.
  • Develop and implement working alone procedures.

Relevant sections of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation*

Working Alone or In Isolation
4.21 Procedures for checking well-being of worker

(1) The employer must develop and implement a written procedure for checking the well-being of a worker assigned to work alone or in isolation.

Tools, Machinery and Equipment
12.11 Operating controls

(1) Powered equipment other than portable powered tools or mobile equipment must have

(a) starting and stopping controls located within easy reach of the operator,
(b) controls and switches clearly identified to indicate the functions they
serve, . . .

Fishing Operations: General Requirements
24.71 Owner and master responsibilities

(1) An owner of a fishing vessel must ensure that all machinery and equipment on board a fishing vessel is capable of safely performing the functions for which it is used.

24.86 De-energization
(2) If it is essential that equipment remain operational during the maintenance process, the master must establish a procedure to prevent injury from contact with moving or energized parts.

24.87 Equipment control devices
(2) Drum pedals and other types of hold-to-run controls must not be bypassed or otherwise rendered ineffective.

* The sections of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation listed in this hazard alert do not imply a breach of the Regulation on the part of any party that may have been involved in this incident. The purpose in listing specific sections of the Regulation is to make readers aware of some of the applicable sections of the Regulation.

Industry: Fishing