Fishermen die from sinking, falls, winches

March 10, 2013 at 3:17 PM
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ATLANTA, March 10 (UPI) -- Commercial fishing has the highest rate of U.S. occupational death, mostly from vessels sinking, but also winch injuries and falling overboard, officials say.

The report, published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, said the commercial fishing industry has the highest occupational fatality rate in the United States, nearly 35 times higher in 2011 than the rate for all U.S. workers.

During 2000–09, a total of 504 fishermen were killed in the U.S. fishing industry, 51 percent by drowning as a result of vessels sinking, 30 percent from falls overboard and another 10 percent were caused by injuries sustained on board vessels, such as entanglement in machinery using winches, the report said.

The onboard fatalities occurred most often in the Gulf of Mexico.

The CDC researchers analyzed data on fatal and non-fatal injuries involving deck winches in the Southern shrimp fleet 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 report said.

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