NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Fatal and nonfatal injuries involving fishing vessel winches - Southern shrimp fleet, United States, 2000-2011.

Lucas-D; Woodward-C; Lincoln-J
MMWR 2013 Mar; 62(9):157-160
Workers in the commercial fishing industry have the highest occupational fatality rate in the United States, nearly 35 times higher in 2011 than the rate for all U.S. workers (1). During 2000-2009, a total of 504 fishermen were killed in the U.S. fishing industry, most commonly by drowning as a result of vessels sinking (51%) and falls overboard (30%). Another 10% of fatalities (51 deaths) were caused by injuries sustained onboard vessels, such as entanglement in machinery (2). This type of fatality occurred most often in the Gulf of Mexico. To analyze fatal and nonfatal injuries involving deck winches in the Southern shrimp fleet during 2000-2011, CDC obtained data from its Commercial Fishing Incident Database and the U.S. Coast Guard. Injury patterns were examined, and risk ratios (RRs) were calculated to compare the probability of fatal outcomes from incidents involving different winch mechanisms and operating situations. During 2000-2011, eight fatal and 27 work-related injuries involving deck winches occurred in the Southern shrimp fleet, which operates in the Gulf of Mexico and off the Atlantic coast from Florida to North Carolina.* Injuries involving the winch drum had a higher risk for fatal outcomes compared with injuries involving the winch cathead. Fatal outcomes also were associated with being alone on the vessel and being alone on deck. Interventions to prevent deck winch injuries might include guarding of winch drums and catheads, avoiding working alone on deck, not wearing baggy clothing, and improvements to cable winding guides. Training of deckhands in first aid and emergency procedures might reduce the severity of injuries when entanglements occur. Data on fatal injuries in the Southern shrimp fleet involving winches during 2000-2011 were identified in the Commercial Fishing Incident Database, a CDC surveillance system. Data on nonfatal injuries during the same period were collected from a U.S. Coast Guard database. The nature of injury and body part injured were coded using the Occupational Injury and Illness Classification System (3). Injury severity was coded with the Abbreviated Injury Scale (4). Investigators also conducted site visits to major shrimp fishing ports in Louisiana during October 2012, in partnership with local U.S. Coast Guard personnel. Winches on shrimp boats were observed in operation and examined to understand their mechanical features.
Fishing-industry; Mortality-data; Mortality-rates; Morbidity-rates; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accident-rates; Equipment-design; Equipment-operators; Surveillance-programs; Machine-operation; Machine-operators; Risk-analysis; Risk-factors; Machine-guarding; Personal-protective-equipment; Training; Emergency-response; Emergency-treatment; First-aid; Mechanical-properties; Body-regions
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Issue of Publication
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
Source Name
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division