Fatal and Nonfatal Injuries Involving Fishing Vessel Winches — Southern Shrimp Fleet, United States, 2000–2011

Workers in the commercial fishing industry have the highest occupational fatality rate in the United States, nearly 35 times higher in 2011 than the rate for all U.S. workers. During 2000–2009, a total of 504 fishermen were killed in the U.S. fishing industry, most commonly by drowning as a result of vessels sinking (51%) and falls overboard (30%). Another 10% of fatalities (51 deaths) were caused by injuries sustained onboard vessels, such as entanglement in machinery. This type of fatality occurred most often in the Gulf of Mexico. This article reports on a study undertaken to analyze fatal and nonfatal injuries involving deck winches in the Southern shrimp fleet during 2000–2011. For this study, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) obtained data from its Commercial Fishing Incident Database and the U.S. Coast Guard. Injury patterns were examined, and risk ratios (RRs) were calculated to compare the probability of fatal outcomes from incidents involving different winch mechanisms and operating situations. During 2000–2011, eight fatal and 27 work-related injuries involving deck winches occurred in the Southern shrimp fleet, which operates in the Gulf of Mexico and off the Atlantic coast from Florida to North Carolina. Injuries involving the winch drum had a higher risk for fatal outcomes compared with injuries involving the winch cathead. Fatal outcomes also were associated with being alone on the vessel and being alone on deck. The authors note that interventions to prevent deck winch injuries might include guarding of winch drums and catheads, avoiding working alone on deck, not wearing baggy clothing, and improvements to cable winding guides. Training of deckhands in first aid and emergency procedures might reduce the severity of injuries when entanglements occur.

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  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01485074
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 26 2013 7:50PM