President of The UFA Outlines How to Keep Alaska Fishing Crews Safe During Pandemic
The 2020 Alaska salmon season is approaching and that means that soon salmon fishermen will be heading up to Alaska to do their work. But, the president of the United Fisherman of Alaska (UFA) wants to make clear that this coming season will not be “business as usual” and that vessel operators must adhere to a “high standard of caution and personal responsibility” in order to keep their crews safe. The State of Alaska has announced Health Mandate 17, which mandates that independent commercial fishing vessels implement protective measures and requires operators to sign an Agreement Form (Appendix 02). Vessel operators are responsible for their crew’s compliance with the mandate and in general, are responsible to provide a safe working environment with reasonable safety precautions and a clean and healthy place to work.
Vessel operators must comply with Health Mandate 17
The three elements of the mandate are:
Planning includes the need for vessel operators to be informed about all mandates and create a plan to implement the protocols as well as a plan for where out of state crew will self-quarantine, how they will get supplies and what to do if a crew member gets sick. They must also have all necessary supplies on board such as PPE and cleaning products.
Documentation and reporting include a requirement to keep a record of screening crew when they arrive, self-quarantine periods, and any crew who become ill. There must be crew documentation that they are a critical infrastructure worker and a signed copy of form (Appendix 02) to show law enforcement or ADFG.
Compliance means implementing the requirements in the mandate such as providing face coverings for travel to and from destinations, training crew on the requirements of the mandate, following cleaning procedures, etc.
For more information about the mandate and FAQs, visit the UFA website.
Who is liable for the spread of preventable disease on a commercial fishing vessel?
The skipper has a responsibility to create a clean and healthy work environment. Part of that responsibility is communicating the consequences of poor hygiene and communicable diseases in a confined living and working environment. In normal times and especially now, crewmen have a responsibility to wash their hands, keep themselves clean and let the skipper know when they are sick. Vessel operators also have extra responsibilities during this time, including rules around quarantine and an understanding that COVID-19 is more contagious than the average virus and why that requires wearing masks.
For information about how to reduce the risk of disease on a fishing vessel, read our post: https://www.tariolaw.com/protecting-commercial-fishermen-from-preventable-diseases/
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