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Making Alaska's fishing industry safer: applied epidemiology and engineering.

Husberg BJ; Lincoln JM
NOIRS 2003-Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium 2003, October 28-30, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh, PA: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 2003 Oct; :40
The majority of fatal injuries in Alaskan commercial fishing industry are caused by vessel loss and man overboard incidents. The Alaska Trauma Registry (ATR), a database of hospitalized nonfatal injuries, allows us to identify causes and other details for nonfatal injuries in this industry. This paper will cover how injury surveillance information from ATR has led to the specific engineering recommendations to prevent injuries in this industry. ATR collects information on all patients, in all 24 hospitals in Alaska, who have been injured/hospitalized for more than 24 hours. Over 150 data elements are collected for each case in ATR. Examples collected include cause of injury, nature of injury, body region injured, severity, and a comprehensive injury description text field. ATR has information for 648 hospitalized nonfatal injuries in commercial fishing industry from 1991 through 1999. Machinery was the cause for most injuries (205), followed by falls (163), struck by an object (100). For nature of injury, the most common type were fractured bone (309), open would (77), and bums (32). Body region most commonly injured includes upper extremities (203), lower extremities (189), and head (96). A review of narrative field for machinery identified crab pot launcher, crane, and bait chopper as the cause of most machinery injuries. Surveillance information from ATR has assisted in identifying and prioritizing causes for nonfatal injuries in this industry. Collaboration between NIOSH, U.S. Coast Guard, safety engineers, and the fishing industry has taken place to identify specific injury prevention measures for the injuries identified. These engineering interventions include increasing visibility on deck, guides to help control the crab pot in rough seas, easy to fabricate bait chopper guards, and rail height and seawall recommendations. These recommendations have been published in a handbook for fishermen to use in modifying their vessels.
Fishing-industry; Epidemiology; Traumatic-injuries; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Occupational-hazards; Safety-engineering; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Accident-prevention
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NOIRS 2003-Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium 2003, October 28-30, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division