Safety for Fish Farm Workers

  • Killian, H. Steven;
  • Steeby, James A. (Jim);
  • Minchew, Douglas C.

This brochure accompanies the "Safety for Fish Farming" video and may be used to encourage discussion after reviewing the video. For a copy of the "Safety for Fish Farming" video, contact your local county Cooperative Extension Service office.

 Electrical Safety

When working around power lines:

  • Never open electrical boxes which appear damaged. Call an electrician.
  • Never touch a downed power line.
  • Before servicing aerators, make sure power has been disconnected.
  • Stand to the right of a disconnect and use your left hand to engage the switch.
  • Never rely on boots or rubber gloves to insulate you from farm voltages.
  • Suspend all outdoor work during electrical storms. Wait at least 15 minutes before clearing.
  • High voltage power lines are extremely dangerous.
  • At least 10 feet of clearance must be maintained from power distribution lines at all times. Call your local electrical supplier if a service disconnect is needed for safe loading.

When using a tractor:
  • Tractors should have rollover protection structures (ROPS).
  • Seat belts should be used with ROPS.
  • Operate tractors safe distances from levee edges..Never start or "jump off " tractors in gear.
  • Learn proper operation of all equipment before use.
  • If you are not familiar with the operation of a piece of equipment, say so. Become familiar with the basic farm levee layout during daylight hours, and practice using tractors and paddlewheel aerators with help from an experienced operator.
  • Drive tractors at safe speeds, especially at night when visibility is reduced.
Power Takeoffs

 When working around a power takeoff (PTO):
  • Never step over a running PTO shaft.
  • Keep all clothing and body parts away from PTO shafts.
  • Repair damaged PTO shafts.
  • Pay attention to what you are doing at all times. Safety should be a priority every day.
Loading Fish and other jobs

When loading fish and doing similar jobs:
  • Always wear a hard hat in the loading area.
  • Keep all workers in view when reeling in a seine.
  • Use gloves when handling fish.
  • Never kick or throw a catfish.
  • Never place your hands between the seine and the push boat.
  • Always turn off the boat motor before clearing a prop of netting.
  • Deeply embedded spines may require medical attention.
  • Loading doors and gates may pinch fingers.
  • Truck side-rails or tops may be slippery.
 Night Operations

When working at night:
  • Inspect lights on truck and tractors daily.
  • Report all equipment problems for proper maintenance.
  • Stay in touch with other personnel at night.
  • Come to work well rested and stay alert.
  • Keep phones and radios free to report problems; don't chit chat.
  • Nighttime operations can be very dangerous. Take your time, not your life.
  • If you are having problems, get help.

Jim Steeby, Area Extension Agent/Aquaculture Mississippi State University Thad Cochran National Warmwater Aquaculture Center Stoneville, MS

Doug Minchew, Assistant Fishery Biologist Mississippi State University Thad Cochran National Warmwater Aquaculture Center Stoneville, MS

H. Steven Killian, Extension Fisheries Specialist Aquaculture/Fisheries Center University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff


USDA/Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service
USDA/ARS Stuttgart National Aquaculture Research Center


Cooperative Extension Service
Auburn University Cooperative Extension Service
Texas A&M University Cooperative Extension Service
University of Arkansas
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture
Southern Regional Aquaculture Center


Catfish Farmers of America
Aquacenter, Inc. - Leland, MS
Arkansas Bait and Ornamental Association
Arkansas Farm Bureau
Entergy Corporation
Farm Equipment - Portland, AR
National Aquaculture Association
Southern Aquaculture
Supply - Lake Village, AR

Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder. More