Thanks to the FRDC, Dr Kate Brooks and a small team of researchers and industry people are working to identify exactly what factors are stopping the commercial fishing industry from adopting safe work practices and looking out for themselves and others while on the job
Budget expenditure: $321,720.00
Project Status:
Principal Investigator: Kate J. Brooks
Organisation: KAL Analysis Pty Ltd
Project start/end date: 5 Oct 2017 - 29 Sep 2020


High rates of work related injury and illness exist within Australia's commercial fishing industry, compared to other primary industries. A large proportion of current WHS approaches appear to be either underutilised or ineffective in reducing work related injury and illness frequency rates. The wild catch sector has identified a need to explore how to affect cultural shifts that increase the adoption of behaviours that create safe work environments and improve outcomes for the industry. Opportunities exist to learn from fisheries that are in the process of, or have adopted improved and positive WHS attitudes and behaviours, and to identify how they may be successfully shared with other fisheries. Fishing industry representatives identify the desirability of simultaneously generating positive WHS outcomes while undertaking research. It is clearly recognised that the industry is averse to strengthening regulatory and compliance requirements, but seek the identification of behaviours and psychological factors that underpin established, or potential improvements in safety culture and behaviours, with a view to improving WHS outcomes. Given sensitivities to WHS regulatory recriminations, it is also a clear requirement and undertaking of this research to respect the anonymity of research participants in the data, and to protect them from any direct negative regulatory actions as a result of their participation in the research. A need has also been identified to develop a set of principles, that may be promulgated nationally and utilised by industry to improve WHS outcomes, with the benefit of potentially minimising regulatory impositions. It is also acknowledged that opportunities exit to improve WHS outcomes in the aquaculture and retail sectors. While the wild catch is the focus of this project, it will seek to identify any knowledge that may also by applicable to and utilised by these other sectors.


1. To generate knowledge to foster a stronger safety culture in the wild catch commercial fishing industry, and identify relevant recommendations also applicable to the aquaculture and retail sectors.
2. Identify the barriers (environmental, behavioural, psychological, regulatory, and market based) to adoption and implementation of safe work practises.
3. Identify the specific factors contributing to improvements in industry safety culture.

Project products

Flyer • 2018-05-01 • 4.54 MB
NSW Survey Notification.pdf
Dr Kate Brooks, Alex Thomas and/or Woody (OceanWatch) will be visiting your area - Newcastle, Sydney, the Clarence River – McLean, Iluka, and Yamba, and Cos Harbour - between May 29th and June...
Flyer • 2018-09-03 • 44.47 KB
Fisher brief_ Survey result update_ WHS Survey V2.pdf
Remember the safety survey you completed for either one or both of these two women – Dr Kate Brooks and Alex Thomas - or online, some months ago? You have been heard!
Media • 2018-06-04 • 10.81 MB
rr fishing survey[1].mp3
ABC rural hour's Brooke Neindorf interviewing Dr Kate Brooks
Report • 2018-09-27 • 365.24 KB
Technical brief on Initial survey results_041018.pdf
  As a result of the ongoing high levels of accidents and incidents in the fishing industry, an FRDC funded survey was released in April 2018. It was both an online and face to face survey to...
Report • 2019-09-23 • 2.36 MB
2017-046-Appendix 3_Lit Review.pdf
This report provides a review of previous industry (and wider) approaches to improve workplace, health and safety practices and develop strong(er) safety cultures. This review included literature...
Report • 2019-09-23 • 2.07 MB
2017-046-Appendix 4_WHS Survey Findings.pdf
This report presents the findings of the survey work undertaken as one component of the FRDC 2017-046 project, “What’s stopping you from protecting yourself and your mates? Identifying...
Report • 2019-09-23 • 2.17 MB
2017-046-Appendix 5_Focus Group Findings.pdf
This report presents the findings of the focus group and interview work undertaken to explore the elements on the Australian seafood industries safety culture. These elements were, management...
Final Report • 2019-10-17 • 2.33 MB
The project was developed to explore the barriers to improving the culture of safety in the wild catch fishing industry. It undertook a three-stage process of a literature review, survey of the...
Brochure • 2019-10-17 • 317.15 KB
  This brochure provides a brief summary of the outcomes of the FRDC project 2017-046 'What’s stopping you from keeping you & your mates safe?' Barriers to the adoption of work, health...