24 November 2010

Deaths in the East-Coast Fishing Industry

“NIOSH recently completed an in-depth study of commercial fishing fatalities in the United States during 2000-2009. The purpose of the study was to identify the most hazardous fisheries around the country and to describe the unique safety issues in each. For this study the US was divided into four fishing regions: Alaska, West Coast, East Coast, and the Gulf of Mexico. This document is one in a set of four reports summarizing fatality data for US fishing regions….

“During 2000-2009, 165 commercial fishing deaths occurred off the East Coast of the US, an average of 17 per year (Fig. 1). During 2002, the number of fatalities was unusually low, with only three deaths. No explanation for the single-year decrease has been identified. 2009 was an especially tragic year with 29 fatalities.

“About 60% of the total deaths were caused by drowning following a vessel disaster (e.g. sinking, capsizing, fire, etc) in which the crew was forced to abandon ship (Fig. 2). About one-quarter (22%) of fatalities were the result of falls overboard. The remaining fatalities were due to traumatic injuries sustained on-board, on-shore, or while diving.”

Fatal Occupational Injuries in the U.S. Commercial Fishing Industry: Risk Factors and Recommendations / East Coast Region [PDF 1,036 KB]

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