Offshore InjuryBlog

Fisherman Up to 40 Times More Likely to be Killed at Work

Shows like the Discovery Channel's "Deadliest Catch," highlight the wonders and dangers that commercial fishermen experience every day. However, even though the show may contain certain scripted aspects, the dangers of commercial fishing accidents are quite real. Workers are more likely to die on a commercial fishing vessel than any other workplace.

Facts About Commercial Fishing Accidents

According to the Health and Safety Authority (HSA), commercial sea fishing is the most dangerous industry for U.S. workers. With a workforce of almost 5,000 people directly employed and registered in fleets with over 2,100 vessels, they measured the incident rate of commercial fishing accidents.

The HSA found that between 2008 and 2013, the fatality rate in commercial fishing was 92 for every 100,000 workers.

When compared to the average death rate in the general working population of 2.5 per 100,000, the results concluded that fishermen were up to 40 times more likely to be killed while at sea compared to the average worker.

The worst sub-sector for workers in the fishing industry was groundfish trawling in the northeast. From 2005 to 2014, the fatality rate was 300per 100,000 people. That's more than 100 times the national average across all industries.

An official noted that "There's no doubt that fishing is a dangerous job and fishermen often work under very dangerous and extreme conditions where the smallest oversight can lead to disaster. Under these circumstances, it's vital that skippers manage the risks and take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their crew."

The HSA discovered another disturbing fact during their survey: only 30% of the fishing vessels they surveyed had a safety statement, and only 1 in 5 had completed a risk assessment.

Safety statements help fishing vessels understand the specific risks their vessel is facing. Without them, it's likely for skippers to inadvertently create disasters at sea. Vessel owners and leaders need to understand their challenges clearly.

Commercial Fishing Accidents in the United States

Researchers from another agency corroborated the HSA's findings. The Centers for Disease Control recently conducted their own study and found that:

  • There are approximately 115,000 harvesters in the United States using a variety of different fishing gear and vessels.
  • Between 2000 and 2010, 545 commercial fishermen died while fishing in the U.S.
  • More than half of all fatalities (279, 51%) occurred after a vessel disaster.
  • Another 170 (31%) fatalities occurred when a fisherman fell overboard.
  • Of all commercial fishing accidents that resulted in a deadly drowning, no one was wearing a portable flotation device.
  • Another 56 (10%) fatalities resulted from an injury onboard.
  • The remaining 40 (7%) fatalities occurred while diving or from onshore injuries.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a commercial fishing accident, contact us for a free consultation to learn how you can rebuild your life. Filing a claim with a lawyer helps solidify your case and prevents the insurance company from taking advantage of you. Speak with us as soon as you can to tell us what happened to you.

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