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Risk Factors


Data from the House Subcommittee on Fisheries and Wildlife Conservation in 1971 showed that four types of injury events accounted for over 80% of the total annual casualties nationwide in the commercial fishing occupation (Redfield, 1971).

• Machinery Failure (26%)
• Collision (21%)
• Grounding (19%)
• Flooding/Sinking (17%)

A more recent review of fatalities resulting from commercial fishing was conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard during 1994-2004. The results from the study showed that in addition to the four types of injury events above, falls overboard were also a major cause of injury and fatalitity.

• Falling Overboard (29%)

The book entitled Out on the Deep Blue, edited by Leslie Leyland Fields (2001), discusses the occupation of commercial fishing and what governs the activities:

“Tasks are done fast forward, so repetitive and at such speeds and for such a length of time that they are best done unthinkingly, instinctively, automatically. Your worth, both economic and personal, is often measured in terms of how fast you can bait the halibut hooks, how quickly you can pick fish, how long you can work without sleep.” (p. viii)

Additional Risk Factors:

• Working long hours
• Working at a fast pace
• Tiredness
• Inattention
• Behavioral determinants (carelessness, unsafe movement/practice)
• Type of fishery (Crab Fishing)
• Equipment Used
• Job of crewman (Deckman)