Session 7C – Safer and Healthier Workplaces in Aquaculture

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

This is part one of a two part session. Part two will be in Session 8C

Trine Thorvaldsen, SINTEF Ocean; Trond Kongsvik, NTNU Samfunnsforskning; Kristine Størkersen, NTNU Samfunnsforskning; Ingunn Marie Holmen, SINTEF Ocean; Mariann Sandsund, SINTEF Technology and Society


Aim of the workshop: In relation to the ongoing research project “Safer operations and workplaces in fish farming” we will arrange a workshop aimed at discussing findings from the Norwegian context with conference participants from other institutions and countries.

The Norwegian context: The aquaculture industry has grown to become one of the most important industries in Norway. Atlantic salmon is produced and exported worldwide and the production has a potential to increase in the years to come. Employees at the fish farms have the 2nd most risk exposed occupation in Norway according to accident statistics. Research aimed at providing means to reduce risks and improving workers’ health and safety is therefore needed.

The project: Key findings from the Norwegian context will be used as a starting point for discussing the following topics: Workers perceptions of working environment, environmental conditions and workload and organizing safety (OHS management systems). During the workshop, we will discuss how these findings may benefit not only workers in Norwegian aquaculture, but other countries as well: How can we utilize this knowledge to provide safer and healthier workplaces for workers in aquaculture worldwide?

Short introductions for each topic (presenters):

Workers’ perceptions of working environment (Trine Thorvaldsen & Ingunn M. Holmen)

A survey amongst workers in Norwegian aquaculture as well as personal interviews has targeted the interaction between work and health. Findings related to workers’ perceptions on exposures, health complaints, reasons for sick-leave, self-reported health status are presented.

Environmental conditions and workload (Mariann Sandsund)

Workplace field studies have measured work intensity and thermal stress during fish farmers work sessions including several physiological sensors. Results from these field studies are presented.

Organizing safety/OHS management systems (Trond Kongsvik & Kristine Størkersen)

Organizational conditions influencing safety in fish farming, have been identified based on survey and interview data. The respondents are fish farm and office personnel from several localities and companies in Norway. The study shows large differences in working conditions, safety management systems and to some extent also safety climate. Important conditions and differences and implications for organizing and managing for safe working conditions are presented.

Finally, we will end the workshop with all participants discussing the following questions:

  • What are the main challenges for improving working environment and safety in aquaculture in different national contexts?
  • Which measures may improve conditions for aquaculture workers?
  • In what areas do we need more research and knowledge?


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