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Action plan to reduce fishing injuries launched

16 August 2012

Media Statement

Action plan to reduce fishing injuries launched

Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson and Associate Transport Minister Simon Bridges have launched a new action plan to bring down the unacceptable number of workplace injuries experienced by the fishing sector.

The Fishing Sector Action Plan identifies concrete actions for reducing this rate of harm, including implementation of a proposed new Maritime Operator Safety System (MOSS) and Qualifications and Operational Limits Framework (QOL).

Commercial fishing has one of the highest combined fatality and injury rates for any sector in New Zealand, with more than seven per cent of the workforce reporting injuries each year.

Between 2001 and 2011, there were 33 fatalities in the commercial fishing sector.

“People working in the fishing industry are exposed to a wide range of hazards. Their work can be physically demanding, the hours long and the maritime environment provides an element of unpredictability to the workplace,” says Ms Wilkinson.

“It’s critical that any plan aimed at reducing the work toll in the fishing industry takes that environment in to account – that’s why the Fishing Sector plan focuses on making sure fishermen are appropriately qualified and fishing vessels are appropriate for the work they do.

“There is no excuse for anyone to be put in danger, suffer serious injury or lose their life while on the job.”

Mr Bridges said this month’s introduction of changes to Maritime Rule 40D, relating to vessel and equipment design and construction, shows that important steps are already being taken to put this plan into action.

“The social cost of workplace harm in the fishing sector is too high to ignore. We are working to improve safety across the maritime industry by bringing in a clear, logical and flexible safety management system that can adapt to changes in the industry while ensuring safe operations.”

“MOSS and QOL and other changes being introduced will give operators more flexibility to meet their safety obligations, while ensuring greater transparency and accountability to Maritime New Zealand for safe operations.”

Today’s release of the Fishing Sector Action Plan marks a key milestone for the National Action Agenda for workplace health and safety. Action plans are now in place targeting the five sectors with consistently high levels of workplace injury, disease and fatalities – agriculture, construction, manufacturing, forestry and fishing.


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