A new doctoral project run by SINTEF Fisheries and Aquaculture and EXPOSED, will focus on work safety for employees in the aquaculture industry. Senior scientist and now a PhD student at NTNU Ingunn Marie Holmen will look at HES and limiting the risk of accidents and injuries in the industry. Good surveillance and monitoring of safety and risk during operations will provide safer operation of the facilities.

Ingunn M Holmen-SINTEF portrett The aquaculture industry is growing and there is a need to systematize knowledge and identify best practice in terms of safety management. This becomes increasingly important as the aquaculture farms, and thus jobs, eventually move further offshore, making sites more exposed which poses new challenges. Crew and equipment are increasingly at the mercy of the forces of nature and must adhere to more extreme weather, including stronger wind, waves and stronger currents, explains Holmen.

– A special focus will be assigned operations where the most serious accidents occur, namely the lifting crane, and operations where there are moorings and liner in tension. We will look at how we can improve safety for the operations performed on deck. We need to look at both working procedures for equipment and furnishings, technical equipment and their layout. An enormous number of operations is carried out by different teams. Therefore it is important to know who does what and when. To ensure this, the systems must be good and integrated and have securety functions as a standard, Holmen points out.

With her background from different research projects in extreme working environment, the civil engineer, who has worked in SINTEF since 1992, has a solid experience in the field.

During the PhD work, Holmen will cooperate with aquaculture companies, vessel manufacturers, service providers and equipment suppliers. She emphasizes that it is especially rewarding to be working with an industry that stand in front of many challenges and an exciting future.

– I look forward to prepare recommendations for the industry – together with the industry. There has been a tendency to “forget” the people in favor of the product, the fish. But if the aquaculture industry wants to reach its goal to grow, we must make it an attractive working environment, emphasizes Holmen.

Focus Areas in the PhD degree

  • Barrier management. By identifying and assessing danger, it will be developed security functions in aquaculture operations, both physical and organizational. There will be learning and inspiration from other industries as offshore and building and construction.
  • Automation and remote control. Greater distance to the facility and more vulnerable working conditions requires an increased use of remote control and automated operations. This way one can reduce the risk for employees, as it affects their working condition and decision making.
  • Risk management in manual operations. Safety requirements and guidelines for manual operations and equipment will be developed for jobs in aquaculture. Existing regulations and best practice from both fisheries and offshore industry will form the basis , and be customized for the industry. This will be done in cooperation with the authorities.