Safety excellence in the Nova Scotia fishing industry was celebrated at the first annual Splashes of Safety awards dinner and fundraiser on Sept. 28 at the Westin Nova Scotian Hotel in Halifax.
“It was really well received,” said Matthew Duffy, Safety Advisor for the Fisheries Safety Association of Nova Scotia (FSANS).
“We had around 160 people attend so that was a great turnout… the industry was really well represented right across the board as far as the entire fishing industry in Nova Scotia goes.”
Guest speaker Captain Keith Colburn of Deadliest Catch fame participated in a man overboard drill with the FSANS in Peggy’s Cove prior to the Splashes of Safety awards banquet in the evening.
“He actually contributed some really great points,” said Duffy. For instance, when putting an immersion suit on, “using your power arm to really get the suit up and over and get your weak arm in first. Just some great helpful tips on what makes a difference in a short period of time,” said Duffy, adding Colburn also stressed the importance of keeping up drills and practices with fishing crews.
“Keeping it fresh in your mind is the idea and the key thing.”
Eight awards were presented during Splashes of Safety.
The Fishing Safety Leader Award, given to an individual for demonstrating safety leadership through their own efforts and making a significant impact towards fishing safety in Nova Scotia was given to Shelburne area fisherman Kasey DeMings.
“Over the past year, this individual has stepped forward to help his fellow fishermen by assisting them with new safety regulations, helping create safety logbooks specific to each person’s boat. Other efforts include going so far as to host his own man overboard drill, with various prizes for onlookers and participants, all in with the intention of demonstrating to his peers the importance of practicing these drills with their crew,” reads the citation.
Two Industry Safety Champion awards were presented to Jenny May Fisheries in Pubnico and the Gulf Nova Scotia Fleet Planning Board.
The first Safety Champion award “is given to a company who has made strong and continuous efforts towards increasing safety in the workplace for their employees and peers.” Jenny May Fisheries “has stepped forward by training their own staff to be WHMIS Trainer certified in order to do in-house WHMIS training with all their employees. They have also worked with Fisheries Safety N.S. to host overboard drills aboard their vessels in which captains, crews and staff all took part.”
The Gulf Nova Scotia Fleet Planning Board, which represents over 500 members along Gulf Nova Scotia, “stepped forward and made headlines around the Maritimes with their promotion of safety equipment to their members. In 2016, over 1,000 Personal Floatation Devices, better known as PFDs, totaling over $230,000 was purchased. Two for each of their members. In 2017 an even larger contribution for their members was made with the purchase of 1,200 immersion suits, 600 Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons and 100 additional personal flotation devices, all totalling over $1.3 million. With the purchase of this equipment came a simple but effective message to their members: “use your PFDs.”
Sambro fisherman Patrick Gray was named the DSS Marine Fishing Safety Champion of the Year. Gray was described as “an individual who has demonstrated a true passion for safety and for being an unwavering voice towards improving safety for the Nova Scotia fishing industry. A long-standing member of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary and supporter of the Fisheries Safety Association of Nova Scotia, this individual has continuously assisted us with events in the Sambro area that promote safety to his peers.”
Also named DSS Marine Fishing Safety Champion of the Year was Tommy Harper, who has been “an invaluable resource for the Fisheries Safety Association of Nova Scotia and the Are You Ready Team. With an incredible background of safety knowledge from various industries backing him up, it was no trouble for this individual to match their love for the water with their passion of safety and apply it so well with the fishing industry.” Tommy Harper is a Safety Advisor with Comeau Seafoods.
The Nova Scotia Trucking Safety Association was the recipient of the Industry Partner award. The association was described as “an invaluable partner” to the FSAN. “This fantastic team has made true efforts in helping create a strong safety culture by supporting and assisting Fisheries Safety NS whenever they’re called upon.”
Recipient of the Lewis D’Entremont Memorial Award was Cory Nickerson, “given to an individual who has demonstrated an on-going commitment to fishing safety excellence by continuously promoting safety and the use of safety equipment to their peers. Recognized as a role model for safety in the Wedgeport area, this individual has been a strong voice on his wharf to wear PFDs and to be safe on the water.”
The Nova Scotia Fisheries Sector Council was selected as the recipient of the Fishing Safety Award of Excellence, the highest fishing safety honour given to an organization, partnership or individual. The Fisheries Sector Council was selected for the award “as its team has demonstrated continuous commitment to the improvement of safety in the Nova Scotia fishing industry. This organization is being recognized for upholding the very best practices towards reducing fishing related workplace injuries and for fostering a safety culture within the industry.”