Commercial fishing carries many dangers to the people involved. These dangers are associated with conditions on board the vessel, the nature of the work being undertaken and adverse weather conditions. It is essential that every person on board the vessel has access to suitable personal protective equipment or safety wear. By utilising personal protective equipment, the people on board the vessel can greatly reduce the risk of accidents or injuries. The most basic form of personal protective equipment is protective clothing. Protective clothing relates to items such as jackets, gloves, overalls and hard hats. It is imperative that items such as these are available to the crew at all times. Commercial fishing gear is widely available so it is not difficult to obtain suitable safety wear.
Protective clothing is the most basic form of personal protective equipment and is usually worn to offer protection from the elements. Protective clothing should be worn at all times during the voyage and each crew member, along with the captain, should identify the most suitable protective clothing items to wear relating to the required task. It is advisable to wear suitable clothing for work in adverse weather conditions such as heavy rain or strong winds. If possible it is suggested that crew members wear tight fitting clothing as much as is reasonably practicable. This means that the clothing should be loose enough to allow freedom of movement but not excessively loose so that there is a danger of being caught up in any machinery or winching equipment. Jewellery should not be worn as it could offer the same dangers as loose fitting clothing especially when working with rope and nets. Other aspects to consider relating to protective clothing are in relation to high visibility jackets when working at night and thermal clothing if working for extended periods in a freezer compartment or similar.
Head and hand protection
Hard hats should be worn at all times when working under any winching or lifting equipment. This reduces the risk of injury should the worst happen and something unexpectedly breaks free and falls to the ground from a height. Hard hats should be the correct size so that it is not excessively tight but conversely is not loose enough to come off in high winds. The use of chin-strap is an effective way to combat the possibility of the hard hat coming off during high winds.
Hand protection is important due to the nature of the work being carried out on board the vessel. In many cases, crew members will be working with sharp objects such as knives or moving machinery which has the potential to cause injury to unprotected hands and arms. Commercial fishing gear should be fit for purpose and routinely inspected.