Dave Samson (left)

What do salmon farmers and astronauts have in common? Safety

Both salmon farmers and astronauts often have to work in isolation, in remote locations

Even though salmon farms and space stations are literally a world apart, Cermaq Canada safety officer Dave Samson and Canada’s most famous astronaut, Chris Hadfield, found they have something in common.

Samson attended the FIOSA-MIOSA Safety Alliance of BC’s awards night last week on behalf of Cermaq Canada, and got a chance to chat with Hadfield, who was the keynote speaker.

The two discovered that both salmon farmers and astronauts often have to work in isolation, in remote locations where it could be very difficult to respond to a safety emergency.

“I said to him, there is a sort of common denominator in the two, although your experience is at a much greater scale,” said Samson.

Hadfield and Samson compared notes on the emergency response plans on farms and in space, and Samson said it was impressive to hear about all the safety considerations astronauts have to take into account, and that he was inspired with some new ideas for how Cermaq Canada can work to minimize risk to workers.

The key is going to be education, he said, growing a workplace culture where everyone knows the risks and how to avoid them.

Throughout the evening, Samson was pleasantly surprised by the interest people showed in salmon farming.

“There was lots of networking, lots of people wanted to talk with me, especially once they found out I was representing aquaculture,” he said. “There was no negativity.”

During the ceremony, Cermaq Canada was rewarded for the third year in a row with FIOSA-MIOSA’s Occupational Safety Standard of Excellence (OSSE) certification. Cermaq Canada is the only salmon farming company in B.C. to hold this certification.

Cermaq Canada’s feed supplier, EWOS Canada Ltd., received the certification this year for the first time.

The OSSE Accreditation Program is equivalent to WorkSafeBC’s Partners in Injury and Disability Prevention Program. The OSSE recognizes and rewards employers who go beyond the legal requirements of the Workers Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation by taking a ‘best practices’ approach to implementing health, safety, injury management and return-to-work (RTW) management systems. The program promotes equally the concept of managing health and safety together with other components necessary for a successful business such as profitability and productivity.

FIOSA-MIOSA is the Health & Safety Association for Manufacturers and Food Processors in British Columbia is to reduce injury in the workplace through committed leadership and the implementation of a proven Health & Safety Management System.