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Fishing vessels to be targeted in winch safety audit

Commercial fishing vessels will be targeted by a new safety campaign to improve safety and raise awareness of the use of capstan and windlass winches.

Industrial Relations Minister Cameron Dick said the campaign had been developed by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) in the wake of its investigation into an incident last November when a fishing boat worker suffered serious injuries.

He said WHSQ had also developed a safety alert for the state's commercial fishing industry to warn workers of the dangers involved in operating unguarded capstan and windlass winches.

"WHSQ inspectors will be conducting audits of fishing vessels, targeting the use of capstan and windlass winches that are usually used to lift gear at the rear of a vessel," Mr Dick said.

"Investigations into last year's incident show there is a heightened risk of entanglement in the moving parts of a winch, with potentially fatal consequences.

"Under the bad weathe r conditions often faced by a fishing fleet, the situation can become worse, affecting the stability of workers operating a winch.

"The safety audits, which start next week, will be carried out first among the Sunshine Coast commercial fishing trawlers operating out of Mooloolaba and may be extended across the state after the results are reviewed.

"The aim is to highlight the hazards involved so ship owners can take preventative action."

Queensland's commercial fishing industry is worth about $275 million and accounts for about 17 per cent of the national industry.

There are more than 1500 commercial fishing licences in Queensland.

Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations
The Honourable Cameron Dick
27/08/2010

Permanent Link: Fishing vessels to be targeted in winch safety audit
Publish Date: 27 Aug 10

Queensland Government, Office of Fair and Safe Work Queensland :
Sunshine Coast Office: Floor 1, Centenary Square Building, 52-64 Currie Street, Nambour
Phone: 07 5470 8732
Non-fixed: 1300 369 945

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