Center for Maritime Safety and Health Studies

What are our priorities?

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Center for Maritime Safety and Health Studies conducts and promotes collaborative research to identify solutions that reduce the unique hazards within the maritime industries, including shipyards, marine terminals, marine transportation, commercial fishing, aquaculture, and seafood processing.

What do we do?
  • Conduct research to identify and reduce hazards and risk factors for illnesses, injuries, fatalities, and vessel disasters (e.g., flooding, fire, collision).
  • Build partnerships with industry, labor, trade associations, and other organizations to facilitate collaborative research.
  • Design and evaluate interventions to reduce risk factors and hazards.
  • Promote relevant solutions to pressing  maritime safety and health hazards.
What have we accomplished?
  • Highlighted the need to advance research on maritime workers’ stress and psychosocial hazards at the Work, Stress, and Health 2021 Virtual Conference.
  • Provided technical assistance for the Centro de los Derecho del Migrante’s project to control the spread of infectious diseases among meat, poultry, and seafood processing workers and their communities through a comprehensive communications and outreach campaign.
  • Awarded five Commercial Fishing Safety Research and Training Grants in collaboration with the U.S. Coast Guard. These grants funded the development of a near miss sharing system and vessel stability simulation for commercial fishing vessels, an ergonomic intervention for the Dungeness crab fleet, and community-based safety training for the fishing industry.
  • Developed health messages to increase adoption of fishing safety technologies.
  • Highlighted research findings on fatalities and vessel disasters as part of a National Transportation Safety Board roundtable on improving commercial fishing vessel safety.
What’s next?
  • Summarize research findings on shipyard inhalation exposures associated with welding, abrasive blasting, coating application, and removal of coatings and corrosion.
  • Examine risk factors for COVID-19, including social determinants of health, among diverse Gulf of Mexico seafood workers.
  • Provide commercial fishing fatality data on an interactive online platform for public use called the NIOSH Worker Health Charts.
  • Analyze risk factors associated with diving-related fatalities in commercial fishing.
  • Conduct a literature review on maritime exposures and health outcomes.
  • Analyze Alaska Workers’ Compensation claims to examine the burden and cause of upper limb injuries among seafood processors.

Mention of any company or product does not constitute endorsement by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


The NIOSH Center for Maritime Safety and Health Studies promotes safety and health for all maritime workers, including those employed on vessels, at waterfront facilities, and on shore directly supporting marine operations. This snapshot shows recent accomplishments and upcoming activities.

Tracking fatalities in the U.S. commercial fishing industry:
Bar graph showing commercial fishing fatalities in Alaska from 2016-2020. Overall, fatalities have decreased overtime, with 12 fatalities in 2016 to 7 in 2020.

Source: NIOSH’s Commercial Fishing Incident Database

Shipyard workers are involved in the manufacture, repair, maintenance, and dismantling of boats and ships.
Photo of shipyard workers involved in the manufacture, repair, maintenance, and dismantling of boats and ships.