Fish and shellfish farmers will meet in Scalloway next week at a special aquaculture safety awareness event.
The aim is to remind farmers of good practice through practical demonstrations and provide an opportunity for industry representatives to get together and share their experiences.
The event, on Tuesday at Blacksness Pier, is being organised by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), the Northern Lighthouse Board, the RNLI and other members of the Scottish Aquaculture Industry Forum. It follows the success of a similar event held in Oban earlier this year.
Qualified instructors and experienced personnel from a range of organisations will present practical demonstrations on how to avoid the most common causes of accidents and ill health arising in aquaculture and other marine activities.
These include: marine cranes and lifting equipment; safe entry into confined spaces; forklift truck/transport issues; manual handling; lifejackets; liferafts and flares; cold shock.
HSE inspector Ann Poyner said: “Aquaculture is an important industry in Scotland and one that we can be very proud of. However, we must not forget that the marine environment is dangerous and unforgiving. Within this industry, since 2000, HSE has investigated four cases of drowning and is at present looking into a double fatality involving a confined space.
“The event in Oban was well received and I have been extremely encouraged by the enthusiasm and assistance given by Shetland organisations to ensure a similar event is held here. It clearly demonstrates the industry’s real desire to protect its workforce and improve standards. With support of the Shetland Islands Council, NAFC, and Shetland Aquaculture and its members, I hope that this new joint initiative can become a regular occurrence.”
NAFC director David Gray said: “The sea surrounding Shetland is an important and valuable economic resource but it also brings constant concerns for the safety of those working in the marine environment.
“We are delighted to support an event that is critical to minimising the risk for all those who work in the aquaculture sector and I would encourage everyone involved in the industry to attend.”
The event is free, although places are limited and by invitation only. Anyone wishing to book a place should contact Anne-lise Anderson of Shetland Aquaculture at www.shetlandaquaculture.com or on (01595) 695579.