Introductory remarks made at the National Fishing Industry Safety and Health (FISH) workshop, sponsored by NIOSH, were presented. The remarks dealt primarily with the problem of occupational accidents in the Alaska fishing industry. Commercial fishing is considered to be one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States. The annual death rate in the Alaskan agriculture, forestry, and fishing industrial sector averaged 132 deaths per 100,000 workers, seven times the national average. In 1991, 35 work related deaths occurred in the Alaska commercial fishing industry. So far in 1992, 29 deaths had been reported. The high death rates in the Alaska commercial fishing industry as well as in air transport and logging, other high risk industries, prompted NIOSH to establish an accident surveillance program, known as the Alaska Activity, in the state. The program was dedicated to developing intervention and prevention programs. The Alaska Activity will involve participation of state and other federal agencies. The National Traumatic Occupational Fatality surveillance system and the Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation program will also be utilized in the Alaska Activity.
Proceedings of the National Fishing Industry Safety and Health Workshop, Anchorage, Alaska, October 9-11, 1992