Safety officials across Prince Edward Island will be visiting wharves over the coming weeks to ensure that fishers are wearing personal floatation devices (PFDs). The initiative will be education and compliance based.
Under the, Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act in P.E.I., a fishing vessel is considered a workplace, and provisions set out the responsibilities of employers and employees where there is a risk of drowning.
“The goal of the initiative is to protect fishers by ensuring their compliance with the OHS act and regulations and raising awareness of the importance of workplace safety,” said Stuart Affleck, chair of the province’s Workers Compensation Board.
According to a 2017 study by the Globe and Mail, fishing has the single highest fatality rate of any sector in the country. Over the past few years, there have been a number of fatalities in the fishing industry on P.E.I.
“Because the results of not wearing a PFD can be devastating, it is important that we do all that we can to reduce the risk for those working on fishing vessels,” said Tory Kennedy, acting CEO for the Workers Compensation Board. “We know that if there is a higher compliance with P.E.I.’s safety legislation, the probability of workplace accidents is reduced.”