Talking safety on the water

Photo by Matt Draper The North of Smokey Fishermen’s Association hosted a town hall meeting at the Havre Boucher Community Centre last week. The Fisheries and Safety Association of Nova Scotia invited the provincial Department of Labour and Transport Canada to come in and discuss safety and regulations.

HAVRE BOUCHER: Local fishermen had the chance to bone up on some safety rules last week.

 On March 21, the North of Smokey Fishermen’s Association hosted a town hall meeting at the Havre Boucher Community Centre. The fishermen’s group invited the Fisheries and Safety Association of Nova Scotia (FSANS) to come in and discuss matters such as safety and new regulations.

 “We’ve asked the regulators of their workplace to come in and talk about their regulations,” said Amanda Dedrick, occupational health and safety coordinator with FSANS. “We have folks from the Department of Labour and Transport Canada here. Those are the big two regulatory bodies that oversee the workplaces in the fishing industry.”

 Dedrick noted the Department of Labour is a provincial body while Transport Canada is federal.

 The big question on people’s minds, said Dedrick, surrounds personal flotation devices and where they have to be worn and what PFDs are approved. As for when PFDs should be worn, Dedrick said it is about doing a risk assessment and identifying hazards.

 “The legislation states that when there is a risk of drowning, you must wear your personal protective equipment,” she said. “As an employer, you have to talk to your employees, do a bit of a risk assessment, and come up with a plan on how you’re going to proceed with that part of the regulation. Part of what this awareness and promotion [does] is get people talking about it, get the conversation started because the more prepared we are in an emergency situation, the better off we are.”

 This is the second year in a row for the association to hold such a meeting. Dedrick said the association hosts the town halls by request, noting their list is getting longer as lobster season approaches and as Transport Canada’s new regulations regarding small vessels come into play as of July 13.