06:34 pm, Monday 30 August, 2010
The Queensland Government is targeting the commercial fishing industry on the Sunshine Coast in its new safety campaign.
The campaign hopes to improve safety and raise awareness on windlass winch and capstan use.
But key players in the commercial fishing industry in the area said they had not been informed of the campaign, which includes conducting safety audits starting this week.
According to Industrial Relations Minister Cameron Dick, the campaign was developed by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland WHSQ) following a probe into a fishing accident last year.
On 16 November 2009, a skipper’s arm was severed after being entangled in a winch of a trawler.
“WHSQ will be conducting audits of fishing vessels, targeting the use of capstan and windlass winches that are usually used to lift gear at the rear of the vessel,” Mr Dick said.
“Investigations into last year’s incident show there is a heightened risk of entanglement in the moving part of a winch, with potentially fatal consequences.
“Under the bad weather conditions often faced by a fishing fleet, the situation can become worse, affecting the stability of workers operating a winch.”
A member of the Queensland Seafood Industry Association said he had not been informed about the proposed safety audit.
This was echoed by a Mooloolaba trawler owner-operator, who said the commercial fishers operating in the Coast were already tightly regulated, and described the safety audits as surprising.
“Ours is such a highly regulated industry. Every year the boats are safety audited by Marine Safety Queensland,” he said.
“On the Coast the trawler fleet is very conscious of safety. What happened to Steve May was terrible, but it was an accident.
“In my view this is just another example of another State Government department chipping away at the fishing industry without us knowing.”