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Trawl fleet workers face huge injury risk, NIOSH says

fishing boat

Photo: DigiClicks/iStockphoto

Atlanta – Workers on trawl fleet vessels off the coast of Alaska in the Bering Sea and around the Aleutian Islands have an injury risk 4 times greater than the average U.S. worker, a new NIOSH fact sheet warns.

Trawl fleet employees suffered an average of 43 nonfatal injuries per 1,000 full-time workers from 2001 to 2012. Injuries resulting in days away from work for all U.S. private industries averaged 9.9 in 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Fish processors made up three-quarters of all injuries in trawl fleets, with the handling of frozen fish being responsible for 41 percent of all injuries. Injuries suffered by trawl fleet workers included lacerations, head injuries, fractures, contusions and sprains.

NIOSH recommends protecting fleet workers from being struck by frozen fish boxes, focusing on injury prevention and hazard reduction, and reporting all incidents to ensure accurate data.