The charge to the National Fishing Industry Safety and Health Workshop in Alaska was to increase awareness about fishing safety, and to encourage action to prevent injury and disease among commercial fishermen. In early times seafarers were faced with dietary deficiencies such as scurvy, dehydration, lead (7439921) colic, asphyxiation from poisonous gases, burns, infectious diseases, and seasickness. New diseases included bronchitis among crab workers due to inhalation of the toxic mouth foam from crabs. Other problems such as musculoskeletal skeletal injuries, noise induced hearing loss, neurotoxic disorders, and stress were also reported. Epidemiological studies from seven countries showed that injuries were the most common problem (33.6%). In Alaska, the injury rate in the fishing industry was 133.2 per 100,000, and was the highest in the US. Fires, explosions, and capsizing were listed as common causes. Interventions included a balance of health promotion through training and education, protection through safety and engineering controls, and prevention through health services, weather forecasting, rescue and resuscitation. Hazards caused by the extremes of climate in the Alaskan waters were mentioned. The author charged the workshop to share knowledge and experience toward preventing unnecessary deaths and injuries among fishery workers, and to deliver on the promise of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
Proceedings of the National Fishing Industry Safety and Health Workshop, Anchorage, Alaska, October 9-11, 1992