The majority of jobs pose certain risks of workplace injury. However, due to the nature of the work and environment, offshore workers face a heightened risk of injury.
Commercial fishing has long been recognized as one of the most hazardous jobs in America, with significant numbers being injured and killed each year. Recognizing the common causes of injury could assist with prevention. Outlined below are three common health and safety risks that commercial fishermen face:
1. Environmental hazards
The water itself presents numerous forms of safety hazards. Firstly, the waters at sea can be unstable depending on the weather. Large waves can cause the vessel to move rather drastically, which could lead to workers losing their balance. Additionally, any cargo that is not secured properly could come loose and strike those who are in the way. Furthermore, water from the waves can splash onto the floor of the boat. This results in a slippery surface, which can mean fishermen falling overboard.
2. Falls from a height
There may be occasions where fishermen have to perform maintenance on equipment that is kept at a considerable height. Where workers are expected to carry out their duties from a height, adequate safety equipment, such as harnesses and body belts should be provided.
3. Worker fatigue
The fishing industry can require employees to work for extended periods of time. Moreover, even where workers are granted time off and rest breaks, conditions can make it difficult to obtain adequate rest. Generally, the majority of tasks on a fishing vessel require high levels of concentration. Feelings of fatigue may greatly reduce the ability of a worker to concentrate, which increases the chances of an accident.
Recognizing the common risks that commercial fishermen face could assist with prevention. The laws regarding compensation for commercial fishermen can be complex, so don’t hesitate to learn more if you need to pursue a claim.