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WRL to support and fund improved safety performance in the industry

Western Rock Lobster (WRL) is pleased to advise that it is to support and fund the development of a western rock lobster industry Learning Management System (LMS) to improve safety performance in the industry.

Following several tragic fatalities in the commercial fishing and aquaculture industry, most recently in the Northern Territory, Queensland, and Western Australia, there is a clear need to address deficiencies in understanding of workplace health and safety (WHS) law and its applicability to the fishing industry.

In response to this need, the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) and the Australian fishing industry, commenced the SeSAFE project in 2018. The SeSAFE project is a two-year FRDC-industry funded initiative to improve safety performance on Australian fishing vessels, primarily through the provision of online training modules for skippers and crew.

The LMS provides companies and boat owners a simple way to induct individuals in relevant workplace health and safety in a simple online format, including general workplace safety requirements under WHS Legislation and specific requirements under AMSA Legislation. Their comprehension of training material is evaluated by means of simple questions, and they can answer questions multiple times or repeat a module until they attain a desired level of performance.

There are two main types of modules, generic and fishery specific. Generic modules are applicable to many fisheries and aquaculture industries, including manual lifting, electrical safety, and personal protective equipment. The number of generic modules in an LMS is generally tailored to suit different fishing or aquaculture methods, and to reflect different company/owner policy.

Western rock lobster fishery specific modules are currently being developed by WRL in conjunction with SeSAFE Principal Investigator Steve Eayrs, AMSA and industry fishers. An example of a fishery specific module includes hauling fishing gear including snagged pots. Over the coming months WRL will trial the LMS with a few selected fishers to ensure the module content and platform is ready to roll out to industry.

These modules, packaged into a LMS, are designed to enhance and complement existing Safety Management Systems (SMS). They are ideally suited for new and inexperienced crew, but also serve to retrain experienced crew of hazards, risks, and appropriate responses. Each module is completed using a mobile phone, tablet, or computer.

LMS modules were tested in 2018 for the first time to induct skippers and crew from Austral Fisheries prior to the banana prawn season. Click here to view an example of a module.

In addition to developing a western rock lobster fishery specific LMS, WRL has contributed $50,000 to the National SeSAFE Project to assist in the development and maintenance of LMS’s for other fisheries, particularly those dominated by small vessels with limited capacity for self-funding.

WRL looks forward to working with industry stakeholders on this project to improve safety performance on Australian fishing vessels and contribute to a safer and healthier fishing industry.

WRL’s support, combined with that of others, will help make the widespread use of LMS modules a reality, and contribute significantly to a safer and healthier fishing industry characterised by a committed safety culture.

Further project information is available at

Posted in General, Industry News, Safety, WRL News