We focus on ensuring occupational health and safety
Member companies of Fisheries Iceland (SFS) place great importance on health and occupational safety and the safety of their employees. The association focuses on reducing the number of accidents and mishaps in the sector. Fisheries Iceland operates a safety committee consisting of safety managers and representatives of member companies, as well as members of the Fisheries Iceland staff. The committee holds regular meetings to discuss safety issues. A safety manual was prepared in order to promote employee safety in the fishing industry and to support member companies in such efforts. The manual focuses on the occupational health and safety of employees in fish processing. The committee recruited consultants from the engineering firm Verkís Consulting Engineers, and the safety manual was prepared by the Fisheries Iceland safety committee in collaboration with the firm. The content of the manual is based on general safety concerns together with risk assessment and specialised information from the member companies.
Although the substance of the manual relates to safety issues for workers in fish processing, it can be of use in other Fisheries Iceland member companies as well and is thus also intended to be a reference document for employees attending to safety issues. In addition, companies can use the manual in the preparation of their own manuals or other educational material. The companies in question can, as needed, add material that is descriptive of their own operations.
The purpose of the safety manual for fishing vessels is to ensure safety on board vessels, prevent accidents and to minimise the risk of mishaps. The manual is a guideline for efficient safety management where all fishing vessel operators have access to the same basic guidelines but can adapt them to their own vessels as appropriate.
Nature can be unpredictable and fatal accidents at sea used to be common. It is estimated that up to 48 fishermen drowned each year in Icelandic waters in the period from 1900 to 1975 and an average of 14 per year in the period from 1975 to 1985. Deaths at sea have been rare in recent years. According to the Icelandic Transportation Safety Board, there were no fatal accidents involving Icelandic fishermen in Icelandic waters in 2020, the seventh year that this has been the case.
This achievement can be attributed to better vessels and equipment, the fisheries management system and also not least to the work of the Maritime Safety and Survival Training Centre, which was established in 1985. The Training Centre is responsible for education on safety and accident prevention and course attendance is a prerequisite for legal registration on a vessel.
The Maritime Safety and Survival Training Centre is owned by ICE-SAR (Landsbjörg). The Centre was established in 1985 for the purpose of providing safety training to fishermen. Training courses held by the Centre are open to all, and the courses held are tailored to those working at sea, in ports or those engaging in recreational activities or working by rivers or lakes. From the very beginning, the focus has been on targeted courses specifically tailored to the needs of Icelandic seafarers.
The goal of the Centre is to increase the safety of Icelandic fishermen through education and training in the use of rescue and safety equipment and general education about safety measures at sea and to
The Icelandic Transport Authority has published books and papers intended to educate seafarers about safety at sea. Pamphlets and videos can be accessed on the Icelandic Transport Authority‘s website.