High risk operators inspection campaign

The fishing sector was the focus of a targeted HSWA campaign.
a commercial fishing cage full of catch is suspended above blue coloured ocean waters.
Maritime New Zealand 2023
Commercial fishing is classified as one of New Zealand's high risk sectors.


The fishing sector was the focus of a targeted HSWA (Health and Safety at Work Act 2015) inspection campaign for the year 2016/2017.


The approach

The inspections focused on:

  • Notifiable events since 4 April 2016.
  • Exposed machinery (including machine guarding as a control measure).
  • Risk management.
  • Musculoskeletal injury prevention.
  • Any other HSWA issues observed during the inspection.



The campaign proved to be a successful engagement tool, highlighting hazards and risks and, in many cases, building a stronger relationship between the operator and Maritime NZ. The campaign was generally well received by the operators who praised the opportunity to discuss HSWA with a Maritime Officer on a face-to-face basis without a charge, even when they may have initially been reluctant to have the inspection. A total of 31 inspections were undertaken during this campaign:

  • Notifiable events since 4 April 2016: Less than a third of operators inspected reported having a notifiable injury or illness occurring since 4 April 2016.
    Very little information was gathered around notifiable events, with the majority of the checksheets being completed with “Not Applicable.” Therefore, it is difficult to draw any further conclusions with the limited information obtained.
  • Exposed machinery: 22 inspections found that moving machinery parts were exposed and, on 17 occasions, it was found that crew could be harmed by the exposed machinery. The majority of operators were given education and/or improvement notices to improve machine guarding or risk management plans.
  • Consulting other PCBUs (Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking): Two thirds of those inspected consult, cooperate and coordinate with other PCBUs as required by s.34 of HSWA. However, less than a third keep records of these interactions.
  • Risk Management: All the operators inspected have a risk management system in place, with the majority having this documented and they are following this system. In most cases, the system that was in place appeared to be effective. However, in the majority of cases, education from the Maritime Officers allowed these to be enhanced.
  • Musculoskeletal injury prevention: Five of the 31 operators visited had recorded musculoskeletal injuries since 4 April 2016. The majority of operators had procedures for the prevention of musculoskeletal injuries in place, and these were known to the workers. However, little or no detail about those procedures was captured by the Maritime Officers. Of those operators who had procedures in place, almost all found that they appeared to reduce the likelihood of these injuries occurring.
  • Other HSWA issues noticed during inspection:
    • Insufficient risk management documentation.
    • Non-compliant hose connectors and equipment.
    • Issues with longline hauler drive belt.
    • Anchor winch drum required chain alignment.
    • Fall hazards requiring guard rails.
    • Dirty water, poor vessel conditions.
    • Ventilation in sleeping quarters.


Next Steps

A similar campaign is being run during the 2017-2018 financial year, targeting those operators who scored 40% risk rating or more when they entered MOSS (Maritime Operator Safety System).