Fishing is a hazardous occupation and promoting safe working practices and training of fishermen is a critical part of the work of the NFFO. The Federation has representation on many maritime safety groups within the United Kingdom and Europe and engages on the world stage at the IMO/ILO.
Within the UK, the NFFO plays a key role on the Fishing Industry Safety Group (FISG) and other safety groups working on a wide range of issues including:
- Fishing vessel health and safety
- Fishing vessel stability
- Fishing vessel codes
- Personal Floatation Devices (and prevention of MOB)
- Fatigue (also in conjunction with the University of Cardiff)
- Marine Safety Information
- Ministerial targets
- Safety equipment
- Maritime Radio Spectrum
- COMSAR (Radio Communications and Search and Rescue)
FISG runs the the Home and Dry fishing safety campaign which was created with support from the fishing industry, to share vital messages about safety at sea, and help all fishermen get back to their families, home and dry.
The Federation also engages with CHIRP (Confidential Hazardous Incident Reporting Program), is a member of the the Marine Advisory Board, provides expert input to MIAB recommendation meetings, and is a serving member on the Trinity House User Consultative Committee and the General Lighthouse Authorities Joint User Consultative Committee.
The development of training courses is a key element of safety promotion and the NFFO has worked alongside Seafish through the Fishermen’s Training Group in order to develop the following courses and training materials:
- Bridge watch-keeper’s course used in the development of the under 16.5m Skippers certificate
- Engine room watch-keeper’s course
- HACCP for fishing vessels
- Safety Awareness course
- Code of Safe Working Practices for Fishermen
- MSA (Maritime Skills Alliance)
NFFO has worked with Seafish and Rockall Marine to produce the Safety Folder designed to help skippers and vessel owners ensure best practice in the operation of a safety management system on board of vessels that also ensures compliance with legal requirements are met.
At the European level the NFFO provides expert input into the following groups:
- Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee (SSDC) which is presently engaged with the Social Partner’s Agreement on the ILO Work in Fishing Convention (2007).
- The Advisory Committee on Safety and Health at Work (ASCH), which has developed the EU Safety Guide for Small Fishing Vessels.
The NFFO was a founding member of FISH (Fishing Industry Safety and Heath) which provides a source of information and assistance to fishermen in member states for improving fishing safety and labour flexibility throughout the EU fishing industry.
At the international level, at the request of the ILO and CBI, the NFFO has provided fishing experts for the ILO Work in Fishing Convention 2007, Stability & Load-lines on Fishing vessels safety, and Personal Injury & Abandonment of Seafarers.
In order to promote the use of Personal Floatation Devices in the industry, the NFFO, with the support of Seafish and the European Fisheries Fund, pioneered a project to supply 1,000 devices to its member fishermen. This successful initiative has led to a further initiative to supply valuable safety equipment to members.