FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government has introduced amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act to enhance health and safety on fishing vessels.

The amendments would include fishing vessels as a place of employment and require the mandatory wearing of safety devices such as life jackets or personal flotation devices for fishers while working.

“Working on fishing vessels can be a dangerous job, which is why these changes are crucial to make this working environment as safe as possible,” said Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Trevor Holder. “Under federal regulations, fishing vessels must have personal flotation devices on board. The provincial changes will reinforce their use as a safety measure in their work environment.”

The amendments include:

·         adding fishing vessels to the definition of place of employment;

·         adding a definition of what constitutes a fishing vessel;

·         distinguishing the requirements for life jacket and personal flotation devices on fishing vessels from construction requirements;

·         requiring the constant use of a life jacket or other personal flotation device for fishers/employees while on board a fishing vessel that does not have a deck or a deck structure.

‟These amendments will address a safety gap in the fishing industry and will help to protect workers from the risk of drowning,” said Holder. ‟Fishing is one of New Brunswick’s longest and proudest traditions and we want it to be safe for workers.”

The amendments would come into effect on June 1, 2024, to allow time for the industry to comply with the new requirements.