Commercial fishing still most dangerous US job, AK salmon #3 for fatalities

E-Stop on AK Seiner Credit: CDC.govE-Stop Button Credit:  NIOSHFish Radio
March 27, 2013

 This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch —   Fishing is still the most dangerous job. More after this –

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 Commercial fishing still ranks as the nation’s deadliest job – nearly 35 times higher in 2011 than the rate for all US workers. That’s the latest from the Center of Disease Control’s weekly Morbidity and Mortality Report.  Workplace fatalities are measured by the number of deaths per 100,000 workers. 

For the decade through 2009, 504 fishermen died on the job. Over half died by drowning when their boat went down, and 30% from falling overboard. Another 10% were caused by injuries onboard, usually from entanglements in the winch, used for winding ropes.  

 The Gulf of Mexico shrimp fishery tops the most deadly list with 55 fatalities over the decade. Deck winches killed eight men in one year through 2011 and badly injuring 27 more. In    41% of those cases loose clothing or gloves were cited as the first thing getting entangled in the gear.

  Cut;  Because if that thing gets a hold of you when you’re pursing a line or moving a line or doing anything, it won’t let go and it will end up tearing your arm off or breaking your neck or something of that nature. 5

 Ted Teske is a Health Communications Specialist with the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.   Teske helped develop an emergency stop  that stops a winch from spinning.  It’s called an E-Stop.

Cut: So we developed a button that interrupts the flow of hydraulic fluid to the winch and locks it in place. And we decided to mount it right on top of the winch horns, so as you’re pulled into the winch it’s right there in front of you like a game show buzzer and you can slap that and it lock the winch in place. So you’re still wrapped up, but you’re not going round and round multiple times, and crewmembers can come and reset the system and back the winch off easily to get you untangled.  7

 Alaska’s salmon fishery ranked third with 39 on the job deaths for the decade, Alaska cod came in fifth at 26 and the sole fisheries ranked 7th at 21 fatalities.

Ted Teske and the NIOSH team will be at ComFish next month in Kodiak. www.comfishalaska.com .    

 Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods, an Alaska corporation proudly supporting Alaska’s coastal communities and the Alaskans who depend on fishing for their livelihoods and culture.  Check out Ocean Beauty’s new website at www.oceanbeauty.com    In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.