Session 5B – Overboard Falls of Crew Members on Québec Lobster Boats: Risk Analysis and Tested Prevention Solutions for Crews and their Boats

Tuesday, June 12, 9:00am – 10:30am, Arts and Administration Building, Room A1046

Fishing is one of the most dangerous occupations; the work is performed under difficult conditions, on a slippery, moving surface exposed to the elements. Onboard fishing vessels using traps, overboard falls occur every fishing season, usually with serious, or even fatal consequences. Highly risks of entanglement and fall overboard often happen when resetting traps. Hauling heavy pots is a challenging and demanding MSD task as well as repetitive motion.

This session will be presenting results summary of a recent research program conducted in Canada (Quebec) since 2011 about occupational safety and ergonomics in lobster fisheries, putting together risk analysis, real work activity, ergonomics and criteria for improving vessels used in lobster fishery with the main concern to prevent falls overboard. Improvements have been tested at-sea aboard three various lobster fishing vessels categories. Major research projects financed by IRSST (Québec, Canada) are now completed. Communication #1 presents the results of these issued from interviews, observations on board, self-confrontation and validation by fishermen of the risks, their causes and main possible ideas or solutions to improve the safety of the fleet. Results are presented considering safety and ergonomics criteria. Communication #2 will emphasize on the development and testing at-sea of solutions, which have been explored during a fishing season.   Communication #3 will present a point of view of a stakeholder about what could be applied for a better prevention in this industry.


5B.1  Overboard Falls of Crew Members on Québec Lobster Boats: Risk Analysis and Most Promising Risk Reduction Scenarios Emerging SolutionsSylvie Montreuil, Université Laval, Québec City (Presentation slides).

Presentation of the methods and results of an applied research project aiming to understand work activities taking place aboard lobster boats and the risk factors associated with falls overboard. Interviews with fishermen, work observations aboard 7 boats and group validation with nearly all the participating crew members (11) lead to the identification of the most promising avenues for reducing risks (human & technical).

To identify what could be reasonably improved on lobster boats and the real means that are available to fishing vessel owners, a better understanding of the fleet characteristics, their equipment and the technical design resources support has been done to prepare the test benches.


5B.2  Safe and Ergonomic Design Criteria for Haulers and Trap Racks on Québec Lobster Boats (Test Benches Results) – Jean-Guy Richard, Université Laval, Québec City (Presentation slides).

Determining which improvements should be tested has been done with the contribution of the sectorial follow-up committee and an expert committee including fishermen. The research team have presented real work situations observed on 20 lobster fishing vessels through 16 typical actions done by fishermen onboard.  The risks and difficulties to perform these actions has been discussed by these committees and some avenues were proposed to resolve them.  This process have resulted in the statement of “safety, efficiency and ergonomics objectives” for every typical actions. Once done, it was possible to work with the engineers to design the new equipment adapted to 3 representative lobster fishing vessels.

Three test benches will be presented either, the design process, manufacturing and at-sea trials at the hauler and lobster trap rack working stations. These trials were made during the regular fishing season under usual conditions. The results show that it is possible to optimize equipment at these two workplaces by reducing the risk of falling overboard while improving ergonomics.


5B.3.  What have we learned in order to build a better future?– Michel Castonguay, CNESST GASPÉ, Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (Presentation slides).

One of the difficulties that external stakeholders in prevention meet in the fisheries are that, fishers tend to believe that their safety is their responsibility alone. After all, “the captain is the only master on board, after God.”  Furthermore, many governmental agencies are devoted to ocean and fishery activity. How can we work together for a better safety in this sector? This conference will present what has been learned and could be applied for the future. Conference followed by 15 minutes discussion.


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