The Catatonic partially sank in a 2017 accident that killed two fishers. While fatalities can be observed through long-term trends, the Transportation Safety Board will be updating its internal data system to make it easier to observe trends. (Transportation Safety Board of Canada photo)

Transportation Safety Board to update database system

The current system doesn’t make online accident reports easy

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada releases marine reports daily, monthly and annually, but their database system could use some tweaking.

“What we use to track safety accidents is not the best,” said Glenn Budden, regional senior investigator for fishing vessels and marine- pacific. It’s Budden’s job to analyze the reports that end up on his desk, and follow up with high-risk or repeated incidents.

“Unless you’re tracking exposure to these risks, it’s hard to get a rate,” he said. “That’s the only way to compare information is with other provinces and other years.”

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The TSB uses a database system called MARSIS, which was updated five years ago. This system collects reportable incidents and accidents. Under TSB regulations, there are mandatory reporting requirements for certain incidences, which are not confidential or anonymous.

There are is also a separate system called SECURITAS where people can report potentially unsafe acts or conditions. While this system is marked as confidential, the only electronic way to submit a complaint is by direct email, or alternatively through a phone line or mailing system.

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However, the TSB is hoping to adjust their database by allowing for electronic submissions.

“The Transportation Safety Board is revamping it’s data system,” Budden said. “There will be an internal data transfer from the reporting forum directly to the marine occurrence database.”

This means once information has been filled out and reviewed, it will be added to a larger online database that can better offer insights into marine occurrence trends.

These online submissions can then be compared with data from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and Transport Canada.

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While most reports currently come from incidences which involve the Canadian Coast Guard, Search and Rescue, or the local traffic channel, Budden feels hopeful that an easier reporting system will encourage more voluntary submissions for non-mandatory incidents or accidents.

“Maybe you were up for four days and fell asleep and grounded,” he said. “If that happened to someone they’d feel embarrassed, and might also fear repercussions from their employer.”

Talk of the database update are just in the beginning stages, but anything that could add more information would be a great tool

“Tracking accidents and trends allows us to provide information on safety and lessons learned,” Budden said, referring to current and future conditions. “The better reporting we have in place, the better information we’re going to get.”

**Editor’s note: this story has been updated from its original version. The original version stated there would be a new database system, not an update to the current system.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


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