Reaching out: one more way to advance safety
25 November 2016
Posted by Marc-André Poisson
Watchlist 2016, released on 31 October 2016, identifies the key safety issues that need to be addressed to make Canada's transportation system even safer. Almost immediately following the release, senior TSB executives and members of the Board began meeting with stakeholders to discuss the unresolved issues highlighted by the Watchlist. Between November 6 and 9, I travelled east with Board member Joseph Hincke to meet with government officials from Prince Edward Island and New-Brunswick, as well as senior members of the PEI Workers Compensation Board and Worksafe NB.
As we discussed issues related to commercial fishing safety, one of our objectives was to raise awareness on the obstacles to improving safety. For instance, the TSB Safety Issues Investigation into Fishing Safety in Canada (2012) identified 10 issues that affect the safety of commercial fishermen. One of those issues, the regulatory approach, involves provincial governments. That's because fishing activities fall under both federal and provincial jurisdiction. Examples include marine safety, workers' safety, fisheries management, and aspects related to economy, business and employment.
We also wanted to communicate why provincial governments need to get involved—because overlaps and gaps must be addressed in a coordinated manner to protect the workers. And while we are aware that these issues can't be addressed overnight, we encouraged provincial governments to continue implementing the various solutions they had proposed in their response to the TSB recommendation on workplace safety on fishing vessels, which was issued back in 1999.
Our discussions with government officials also explored how provincial responsibility around “the business of fishing” and related labour legislation can support increasing awareness of these key safety issues among fishermen.
We also took the opportunity to distribute copies of our new fishing safety poster, which was developed to remind fishermen of best safety practices. Some of these include: wearing personal flotation devices (PFDs), carrying position-indicating radio-beacons (EPIRBs), and practicing safety drills.
With the release of the 2016 Watchlist, we are stepping out of the office and reaching out to the industry and the communities. Our meetings on the east coast left me encouraged by the level of engagement and the common understanding of the importance of moving forward on these issues we encountered. In the coming days, the TSB will continue to be proactive, meeting with senior officials of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in Ottawa to discuss fishing safety. We look forward to reporting positive safety action taken by all level of industry stakeholders.
Marc-André Poisson is Director of Marine Investigations. He holds several college and university diplomas obtained in Canada and Europe. He is a professional mariner with command-at-sea experience. He has written four novels during his pastimes.
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