Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine (July, 2017)
Gaps in oversight and safety promotion in the fishing sector were cited as factors in the capsizing and sinking of the Bessie E. in Mamainse Harbour near Sault Ste. Marie last year, according to an investigation report from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) published on June 21, 2017.
The fishing vessel was carrying a master and four crew members on February 16, 2016 when an engine failed. The boat touched bottom, and the wind pushed it until it capsized. No on was injured, as all jumped ashore.
The TSB found that the fuel tanks’ filters were clogged with sediment buildup, which had restricted fuel supply to the engine. The report also revealed safety deficiencies in the vessel and could not determine if the master had had the required marine certification.
The report concludes that more collaboration is necessary between governments and the fishing community on safety standards and that the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) needs to be applied more to commercial fishing vessels in the province.
“The safety of the fishermen will be compromised until the complex relationship and interdependency among safety issues is recognized and address by the fishing community,” the report notes.
This article is one of those that deals with provincial-federal responsibility issues and fishing, as most people know, is under federal guidelines. Mind you, if an accident happens with commercial fishing, the Ontario government foots the bill. We need to have clarity here so we can better guide the fishing community by having standards that are clear and precise, easy to understand and comply.
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‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.