Agriculture, forestry and fishing

OR-FACE issues hazard alert on crab fishing

Portland, OR – The Oregon Occupational Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation has issued a hazard alert on the dangers of crab fishing.

Released Sept. 2, the bulletin notes that from 2000 to 2009, the largest number of commercial fishing deaths occurred in Dungeness crab fisheries off the West Coast, at a rate of 310 per 100,000 full-time workers.

Of the 86 commercial fishing deaths that occurred during the same time frame, nearly 70 percent were the result of drowning after a vessel disaster. Falls overboard accounted for 24 percent of deaths, and none of the victims was wearing a personal flotation device, the report states, citing a NIOSH report.

The bulletin offers the following tips:

  • Wear a personal flotation device when on deck and every time the bar is crossed.
  • Train crew about man-overboard procedures. Practice at least monthly.
  • Refer to current weather forecasts and bar information.
  • Use personal locator beacons that are water-activated for visibility.
  • Get vessel stability evaluations to help load properly.
  • Undergo Coast Guard vessel inspections.

The alert also shares three stories about fatalities that occurred when boats capsized.