An insight into the Health & Safety Committee
Wicklow staff doing morning Bodysafe stretches
We recently caught up with Ryan Mitchell and Craig Sherman from the Health & Safety Committee. Ryan is a Brood Technician at Freshwater Farms and has recently become co-chair of the Health & Safety Committee after participating for the last eight months, and Craig is Site Manager at Wicklow Point and joined the Committee last month.
The idea of the Health & Safety Committee is to give staff a forum to raise any issues or concerns from a health and safety perspective. Then the Committee shares this information with the Health & Safety Department and HR with recommendations on ideas and solutions to the issues raised.
After his first month in the role, Craig explains: “The Health & Safety Committee really is a good tool for us to gather information from sites and take that to management. We often find that there will be a common theme emerging across many sites and this can trigger a companywide response. For example, if we hear that several staff members are experiencing ankle sprains when getting in and out of boats then this flags to the organisation that we need more training or PPE. Sometimes issues raised will trigger a safety alert to all staff, potentially around cold weather conditions for example.”
Ryan stated: “Recently, there has been a big focus on ergonomics. Many roles in aquaculture require heavy lifting and inevitably this can lead to injuries such as back pain. The Health & Safety Committee was involved in a technical trial with BodySafe. The trial saw members of staff at our Glacial Creek site wear sensors as they went about their daily tasks.”
Ryan adds: “The sensors were able to record staff movements and the data compiled from this study should inform our knowledge on how we can carry out our work and put less stress on our bodies. For example, the sensors may show that most staff are putting too much stress on their backs and with minor adjustments to our approach, we can avoid injuries whilst still doing the job.”
Duane Morgan, Assistant Manager at Glacial Creek, wears sensors (the green bands) to track the angles and positions he is in.
Ryan is impressed at how inclusive the Health & Safety Committee is and how effective it is in triggering improvements. Craig says: “Sometimes there is a very simple fix that is easy to implement.” Ryan concludes: “Definitely, for example, we heard that more staff were experiencing hand injuries so now the company has introduced more gloves for different types of tasks. An easy fix with almost immediate impact.”