Not so coincidental, perhaps, with the US National Transportation Safety Board’s upcoming forum on fishing vessel safety is a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, Commercial Fishing Deaths—United States, 2000-2009, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It may, at first sight, seem odd that a disease prevention agency should be involved in fishing accidents but, then, the refusal to wear a lifejacket is a disease, and an apparently incurable one, in the US as it is in the UK.
In the US some four workers die for every 100,000 workers each year. In the fishing industry the figure is 58 deaths for each 100,000. That’s 14 times higher, and as Britain’s MAIB points out, the high rates cannot be excused by a shrug of the shoulders and a muttered “Well, it’s dangerous industry”.
From 2000 to 2009 there were some 540 commercial fishing deaths. Of those, 155 were due to falling overboard. What percentage of those were wearing a lifejacket? None. Zero. Not one.
One hundred and fifty five fishermen actually preferred to go home in a bodybag than a lifejacket.
You can read the rest of these sad and unacceptable statistics here.
Says the CDC: “To reduce fatalities in this industry, additional prevention measures tailored to specific high-risk fisheries and focusing on prevention of vessel disasters and falls overboard are needed”.
In what, we can only hope presages a step forward in commonsense stay-alive safety The National Transportation Safety Board will hold a forum on fishing vessel safety beginning Wednesday, 13 October 13, 2010 at 9:00 am.
The two-day forum will be chaired by NTSB Board Member Robert Sumwalt.
The forum is intended to identify safety issues in the commercial fishing industry – from both industry and government perspectives – and to identify strategies for preventing accidents and reducing the industry’s high rate of injuries and fatalities.
Organizations and individuals can submit input for consideration as part of the forum’s archived materials. The deadline for receipt is October 21, 2010. Input received will be entered into the Safety Board’s public docket on this forum. Topics to be covered can be found here.
The public can view the forum in person or by live webcast on the NTSB’s web site. An agenda and webcast details will be posted on the Board’s website when available at http://www.ntsb.gov/events/forum_fishing_vessel_safety/forum_fishingvessel_safety.htm.
The forum will be held at the NTSB’s Board Room and Conference Center, located at 429 L’Enfant Plaza, SW, Washington, DC