April 28, 2009

Trends Over Time

During the early 1990’s, commercial fishing fatalities made up 33% of all occupational fatalities in Alaska (NIOSH, 2008). Because of the high fatality rates, safety improvements were made in the Alaska fisheries, mostly involving the implementation of new regulations and safety training programs. These programs have helped to decrease the number of injuries and fatalities in the Alaska fishing industry (NIOSH, 2008; NIOSH[2], 2008). Within the last 16 years (1990-2006), there has been a 51% decline of the rate of fatalities in Alaska Commercial Fishing (Lincoln, 2008).

Other U.S. states, specifically on the Pacific Coast, need similar safety interventions to decrease fatalities. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has studied data on commercial fishing fatalities from California, Oregon, and Washington during 2000-2006. They found that the average annual fatality rate for the three states combined was 238 deaths per 100,000 (CDC, 2008). Trends show that during these six years, the annual fatality for California, Oregon, and Washington was twice as high as both the national average fatality rates and the Alaska fishing fatalities (Lincoln, 2008). Implementation of new regulations and safety training similar to the programs developed in Alaska may help decrease fatality rates.