NIOSH Stresses Importance of Life Jackets for Fisherman
From 2000-2012, 191 commercial fisherman died, but despite these numbers, regulation of certain aspects of fishing vessel safety remains limited. According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), 31 percent of the fatal fishing accidents were caused by fisherman falling overboard. NIOSH has found that only one of the fishermen was wearing a life jacket at the time he went overboard. NIOSH has taken the initiative in promoting the use of life jackets and other safety equipment in the fishing industry.
Due to the number of deaths from workers going overboard, the use of life jackets has become a top priority for NIOSH. Wearing a life jacket will not prevent every death, but it certainly increases the chances of survival in the event that a fisherman goes overboard. The organization is calling for employers to implement plans and protocols for when workers should be required to wear a life jacket. Additionally, NIOSH has been pushing the importance of the use of man overboard alarms, personal locator beacons, and closing water-tight hatches on fishing vessels as important safety precautions that can help prevent fatalities.
NIOSH maintains a huge focus on the importance of life jackets—mainly due to the unfortunately high number of fatalities that are linked to people falling overboard. As such, NIOSH continues to push employers to create and implement a plan that details when fisherman aboard vessels are required to wear a life jacket. These standards and plans vary between vessel and depend on several different factors, including weather, duties of the individual, ship location, and more. Regardless, NIOSH believes all employers should have a plan.
Types of Life Jackets
There are many different types of life jackets for fisherman to choose from and they often vary based on the fishery. For example, based on a survey conducted by NIOSH, crabbers preferred to use Mustang and Sterns Inflatable Suspenders, while longliners tended to favor using Mustang Suspenders only. Other fisheries preferred inflatable suspenders, oil skins, and foam vests. Because the daily tasks can vary between each fishery, it is important that fisherman and vessel owners not only share information about the best life jacket for their boat, but also encourage or mandate the workers to wear them while on the deck.
The importance of safety aboard fishing vessels cannot be overstated. Fishing is one of the most dangerous jobs in country; not following standard safety procedures simply exacerbates those dangers. Our offshore attorneys have helped thousands of maritime workers who have been injured while working offshore. Sadly, the vast majority of those injuries could have been prevented with just a little extra caution and care. If you have been injured while working offshore, contact our maritime injury lawyers today to learn how we can help you receive the medical treatment you require and be compensated for the injuries you suffered.