Sadly, each year a small number of individuals in the Australian fishing and aquaculture industry are fatally injured in the workplace and do not return home from sea. Available data indicates that the number of fatalities per 100 individuals in this industry is higher than the number of fatalities per 100 miners or construction workers. This means that working the Australian fishing and aquaculture industry is one of the most hazardous occupations in the country.
Many more individuals are injured each year at sea, and some are permanently incapacitated and their quality of life forever compromised. Sometimes these individuals are unable to return to sea, and sometimes they struggle to find employment on land. The most ‘at risk’ group in this industry individuals between the ages of 20 to 24 years, followed by those aged 45 – 54 years.
Unfortunately, in this industry there is widespread acceptance of the hazards and risks of working at sea, particularly by those that have been doing so for many years. Many of these individuals do not accept a need for safety training, yet all will know of one or more individuals that were seriously injured at sea or that did not come home. Their acceptance of these risks and their dismissal of safety training should not be tolerated and must change, particularly when many risks can be eliminated or reduced by quick and simple changes in behaviour and practice. There is no such thing as too much safety training.