In 2017, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) released a series of updated commercial fishing fatality summaries which analyze current trends and identify hazards in four regions of the United States: Alaska, West Coast, East Coast, and the Gulf of Mexico.
Results of this updated analysis indicate that while commercial fishing deaths have declined across the nation, persistent and preventable incidents continue to be a problem for the industry. The summaries also highlight new areas where prevention efforts should focus research and resources.
In 2010, NIOSH published an in-depth analysis of commercial fishing fatalities due to traumatic injury during 2000–2009. These new documents are a five-year update (2010–2014) and focus on current regional hazards related to causes such as vessel disasters, fatal falls overboard, and on-board injuries.
Each summary also contains regional and fishery-specific statistics, as well as tailored safety recommendations. In addition, the updated summaries include new fatality rate calculations, allowing for better comparison with rates in other industries.
Commercial fishing remains one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States. Many commercial fishing operations are characterized by hazardous working conditions, strenuous labor, long work hours, and harsh weather.
During 2000–2015, commercial fishermen were 29 times more likely to be killed on the job than the average U.S. worker, with an annual average of 42 deaths (117 deaths per 100,000 workers) nationwide, compared with an average of 5,247 deaths (4 per 100,000 workers) among all U.S. workers. This recent analysis found for the decade 2005-2014, the three deadliest fisheries in the U.S. were all on the East Coast.
The summaries can be used by industry, marine safety associations, and occupational health professionals to understand and communicate specific hazards in their fisheries, and the included recommendations provide practical solutions to address the main causes of commercial fishing fatalities.
The regional analysis also provides NIOSH researchers the ability to focus resources on high risk fisheries or regions, and encourage additional research into these areas with external partners in industry and academia.
Information about regional fishing fatalities and solutions can be found at www.cdc.gov/niosh. Also available from the NIOSH fishing safety topic page are regional commercial fishing fatality summaries for the Alaska, West Coast, East Coast, and the Gulf of Mexico.
NIOSH is the federal institute that conducts research and makes recommendations for preventing work-related injuries and illnesses.
source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health