Scottish fish farmers invited to safety event.

Scotland fish and shellfish farmers are being encouraged to attend a special aquaculture and maritime safety event in Kishorn Port on 3 September.

The free event aims to remind those working in aquaculture of good practice through practical demonstrations and will enable them to identify common workplace hazards and precautions.

It follows the success of six similar events over the last four years and will be the second time the event has been held at Kishorn, so that those who missed the earlier event, or are new to the industry, have the opportunity to attend.

The event will take place at Kishorn Port, Strathcarron courtesy of Ferguson Transport (Scotland) Ltd, from10.30am.

It has been organised by members of the Scottish Aquaculture Industry Forum, which includes the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), the Northern Lighthouse Board, Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and the Scottish Salmon Company. The Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO), Ferguson Transport (Spean Bridge) Ltd, Loch Duart Ltd and the Crown Estate are providing support and financial assistance.

Qualified instructors and experienced personnel from the industry will present practical demonstrations on how to avoid the most common causes of accidents and ill health arising in aquaculture and other marine activities, such as:

• Fork lift truck/ lifting operations

• Manual handling

• Chemical handling

• Working in confined spaces

• Lifejackets

• Life rafts and flares

• Cold shock

Working in the marine environment is a dangerous occupation. In the last decade HSE has investigated four cases of drowning in the fish farming sector. In 2011 two companies were fined a total of £640,000 after two fish farm workers died as a result of working in confined spaces.

HSE Inspector Ann Poyner said: “Aquaculture is an important industry in Scotland and one that we can be very proud of; however we must not forget that the marine environment is dangerous and unforgiving.

“The excellent attendance at previous events demonstrates the industry’s real desire to protect its workforce and improve standards.”

William Forsyth from the MCA added: “Previous Safety Health Awareness days have proved very successful and have helped the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to impart safety advice in many areas. In particular, the days have helped us to encourage seafarers to wear personal floatation devices (PFDs) or lifejackets on deck, underpinning our campaign message that lifejackets save lives.

“The awareness days are an effective tool which companies can use to enhance their own safety management systems in the workplace. We have received positive feedback from a number of companies whose staff attended previous events and they have reported seeing improved skills and safety attitudes of their staff in a number of their work streams.”

The event is by invitation only, anyone wishing to book a place should contact Iain Sutherland at HSE by emailing iain.sutherland@hse.gsi.gov.uk.