Session 7B – Changing Commercial Fishing Personal Flotation Use Behavior: What can we learn from efforts to address the most important safety technology adoption challenge of our time?

Wednesday, June 13, 9:00am–10:30am, Arts and Administration Building, Room A1046

This is the first half of a double session. Part two will be in Session 8B. See session description for more information.


Julie Sorensen, Northeast Center for Occupational Health and Safety (NEC); Rebecca Weil, NEC; Ann Carruth, Southwest Center for Agricultural Health, Injury Prevention and Education (SWAG Center); Jeffrey Levin, SWAG Center; Jennifer Lincoln, U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH); Frankie Horne, The Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI); JoJo Mains, RNLI; Derek Cardno, Scottish Fishermen’s Federation; Ted Teske, NIOSH; Mark Dolomount, Newfoundland and Labrador Professional Fish Harvesters Certification Board; Amanda Dedrick, The Fisheries Safety Association of Nova Scotia (Presentation slides).


In this double panel session, researchers from various coastal regions will discuss their efforts to increase the use of personal flotation devices (PFDs) in commercial fishing populations. Falls overboard and vessel sinkings have been the primary cause of commercial fishing deaths since humans have taken to the water to harvest fish. Although PFD designs have greatly improved over the past decade, regular use of these life-saving devices by the commercial fishing population, have remained frustratingly low. Panelists will address the following questions in their presentations:

  • PFD Intervention Objective and Target Population
  • Research Methods-if applicable
  • Barriers to Adoption
  • Motivators to Adoption
  • Intervention Approach
    • Intervention Framework
    • Efforts to Address Barriers
    • Efforts to Provide Motivators
  • Stakeholder Engagement
  • Three key observations which are vitally important to increasing PFD use.

Following each 15-minute presentation (2 hours total with a 15 minute break halfway through the session), presenters and those in attendance will be asked to use the last 45 minutes of this session to collectively brainstorm five collective action steps for commercial fishing safety researchers and industry groups to address in the next year. These action steps will focus on advancing PFD adoption in commercial fishing sectors and could include: developing better PFD designs, developing improved PFD distribution channels, bridging gaps in behavior change research, developing better methods for objectively tracking PFD use or finding opportunities for industry and health and safety researchers to regularly interact and collectively address barriers to change. These action steps will be reviewed at the next IFISH conference.


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