Deck safety must be a priority for commercial fishermen

| May 20, 2021 | Commercial Fishermen |

People who work on the deck of a commercial fishing vessel face many hazards. It’s up to the vessel owner to ensure that those are minimized so the worker has a safe workplace. For the men and women who work on the deck, the dangers are often obvious, but some might be unavoidable. 

Around 12% of the fatalities in this industry are caused by on-deck injuries. They are also the largest cause of hospitalizations in the industry. This makes it imperative for anybody working on a vessel to understand their risks and takes steps to mitigate them. 

What are the dangers on the decks?

One of the major issues on the deck of a fishing vessel is the risk of slips and trips. These are caused by the wet deck, which is largely unavoidable. They’re also caused by cables and other items on the deck. Addressing these two issues can go a long way toward seaman safety. 

Preventing slips requires non-slip surfacing or features, such as strips, in areas where slipping is likely. Deckhands can also wear shoes or boots with slip-resistant bottoms. Using a deck squeegee can also help in some cases. 

Items on the deck should be picked up when possible. Anything that’s left strewn about can cause workers to trip. Items that have to run on the deck, such as cables, should be clearly marked and secured. This can help to prevent tripping. 

All deckhands should receive training on proper behavior on the deck, including how to handle high-tension lines. When a deckhand suffers an injury, they should receive prompt medical care. This might be delayed because of being out in the water, which can lead to more serious repercussions due to the delay. Some injured deckhands may have to take legal action to recover the financial damages they suffer as a result of a work-related injury on the deck of the vessel.