Seafarers UK is supporting the Safety Folder, a unique safety aid for professional fishers, as it embarks on a campaign to increase its use by fishing boat owners, skippers and crew across the UK.
Created by Seafarers UK trustee Robert Greenwood, the Safety Folder is a free online resource that aims to support behavioural change to improve safety culture on board fishing vessels of all sizes.
It achieves this in part by making it easier to maintain records and provide evidence to Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) inspectors that risk assessments have been routinely carried out.
The MCA recommends the use of the Safety Folder on the grounds that its use can ‘assist you with preparing for your survey and inspection and may save you time and money by shortening the time MCA spends on your vessel and avoid return visits.’
Since its launch in 2012, the Safety Folder has been adopted by owners of 1,687 vessels with 4,239 crew. 50% of active fishing vessels in the UK are registered users, including 23% of the UK’s under-10m fleet.
The Safety Folder:
• supports conducting and recording risk assessments
• supports compliance with ILO C188 regulations
• keeps track of crew training and certification
• provides automated reminders of expiry dates for equipment certification, servicing and vessel maintenance.
The Safety Folder’s use as a safety management system is endorsed by the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, Northern Ireland Fish Producers’ Organisation, Scottish Fishermen’s Federation and Welsh Fishermen’s Association – Cymdeithas Pysgotwyr Cymru.
Robert Greenwood explained: ‘The grant awarded by Seafarers UK, together with match funding from Trinity House, will support the incorporation, marketing and core costs for the Safety Folder, enabling a shift from a part-time volunteer endeavour to a more formal structuring of the governance and its operations, including the creation of a Community Interest Company.’
‘It will also enable a programmer’s time to be given to website development in order to improve navigation and retrieval of information for users, as well as add a calendar of key dates and automated reminders about equipment safety checks.’
Seafarers UK CEO Catherine Spencer commented: ‘This grant award is the latest example of how our solution focused work in the fishing sector will help raise safety standards and practice for UK fishers. Seafarers UK is getting to the root of problems and working with a range of delivery organisations to improve life for fishers.’
Fishing vessel owners can register to use the Safety Folder at https://www.safetyfolder.co.uk