Commercial fishermen have physically demanding jobs that are associated with some very specific dangers. It’s largely up to the captains and vessel owners to ensure that these hard-working individuals benefit from a safe working environment.
Understanding some of the more common injuries that commercial fishermen face may help workers and employers alike as they attempt to keep everyone who works on a particular operation safe. If you work in commercial fishing, these are a few of the risks you’re likely facing on a regular basis.
Cuts and lacerations
While handling sharp tools like knives, hooks and fish processing equipment, you may suffer cuts and lacerations. To minimize the risk, always use appropriate safety gear and handle equipment with care.
Strains and sprains
You likely often engage in heavy lifting, pulling and pushing, which can lead to strains and sprains in your muscles and ligaments. To avoid these injuries, use proper lifting techniques and ask for help when needed.
The wet and slippery surfaces on the deck of your fishing vessel can cause you to slip and fall, potentially leading to fractures, bruises or even head injuries. Wear slip-resistant footwear and be cautious while moving around the deck.
While working around heavy gear like winches and hydraulic equipment, you might suffer crush injuries if caught between these machines. Stay alert and maintain a safe distance from such equipment.
Drowning or hypothermia
If you fall overboard or your vessel capsizes, you face the risk of drowning or hypothermia. Always wear a life jacket, and ensure that you and your crew follow safety protocols in the event of an emergency.
Repetitive motion injuries
Continuous and repetitive movements, such as hauling in nets or lines, can lead to tendonitis or other repetitive motion injuries. Take breaks when possible and use ergonomic equipment to reduce strain.
Long hours and sleep deprivation can lead to fatigue, which increases your risk of accidents. Ensure you get adequate rest and take breaks to maintain your alertness.
All commercial fishermen should ensure they get prompt medical care if they sustain an on-vessel injury. They shouldn’t be liable for the financial impacts of these injuries, so seeking legal action to recover rightful compensation is important.