Legislation and Enforcement
The Irish Maritime Administration (IMA) and the Health and Safety Authority enforce the Irish legislation with regard to safety and health on board fishing vessels. In general the HSA enforce occupational health and safety legislation whilst the IMA enforce maritime safety legislation.
Occupational Health and Safety Legislation
The sole purpose of occupational health and safety law is to reduce the number of workplace injuries or deaths, the vast majority of which can be easily prevented by taking very straightforward safety precautions.
The specific occupational health and safety legislation enforced by the HSA and applicable to the fishing sector includes:
- The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005
- The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Applications) Regulations 2007 to 2016
- The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Fishing Vessels) Regulations 1999
The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005
This is the primary national legislation on safety, health and welfare at work and applies to all places of work including fishing boats. Under the Act, it is a legal requirement for every employer, including self-employed persons, to have a Safety Statement which is based on an identification of the hazards and an assessment of the risks in the place of work under his or her control. The Act sets down general duties of employers and employees (under the Act a share fisherman is deemed to be an employee of the owner or skipper as the case may be). There is also requirements for emergency plans to be prepared and for adequate instruction, training and supervision so that employees can carry out work without detriment to their safety, health or welfare.
The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Applications) Regulations 2007 to 2016
These regulations cover a number of specific hazards that are found in the workplace such as use of work equipment, electricity, manual handling, work at height, noise and vibration. They also cover the requirements for the reporting of accidents and dangerous occurrences.
The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Fishing Vessels) Regulations 1999
These regulations are jointly enforced by the IMA and the HSA and there is a Memorandum of Understanding between both agencies in relation to these regulations.The regulations are extensive and cover all areas relating to safety on board, such as the duties and responsibility for all on board, vessel construction, accommodation, stability, fire fighting, electrics and so on.
Full legislation is available on IrishStatuteBook.ie, the website of the Office of the Attorney General.