Whales can make for scary work companions, fisherman says
FISHERMAN Rick Piper has the most dangerous job in Australia, but he says some encounters just can't be prepared for.
Forget the weather, or crossing the Ballina bar, what the Ballina-based commercial fisherman said he feared most was the random and unexpected interactions with whales.
He said his trawler, the Kiama, had been lifted out of the water and had stabiliser arms bent by whales.
"One day a whale will come up and punch a hole in someone's boat, because they are only old wooden boats," he said.
"Years ago when whales were being killed if they heard a boat they would disappear, and now that nobody's killing them they are not scared of boats any more."
Working as a commercial fisherman was recently listed by comparison website lifeinsurancefinder.com.au as the most dangerous job in Australia when taking out a life insurance policy .
According to Safe Work Australia, of the 212 people who were killed at work last year, 50 worked in fishing, agriculture and forestry.
Mr Piper said he saw more injuries and deaths in 30 years as a roofer. He said he was surprised that commercial fishing was considered so dangerous.
"I have seen people die falling off roofs and get injuries like broken necks and backs."
"With fishing, you know if there is a two-metre swell coming or a 35-knot wind with the computers we have so you just don't go out - its common sense."
Tree loppers, construction workers, working in mining and garbage collectors were also listed in the top 10 dangerous jobs.
Most dangerous jobs
- Commercial fishing
- Road train driving
- Construction work
- Tree lopping
- Defence forces
- Fire fighting
- Flying aircraft
- Garbage collection