Commercial Fishing Safety: Deck Safety

A fisherman simulates the activation of the winch-mounted emergency stop system on the deck of the salmon purse seiner.

Deck Safety

On-deck injuries account for 12% of the fatal injuries in commercial fishing and the largest number of hospitalized non-fatal injuries among fishermen in the United States. Wet, pitching decks result in many slips, trips, and falls. High tension lines and cables running through hydraulic haulers and winches can lead to contact injuries including amputations and death.

Fishing Safety Success Story: I Reached Over and Hit the E-Stop

NIOSH has approached reducing these injuries on-deck through a combination of hazard awareness, training development, and engineering intervention. The development of an emergency stop for capstan winches on salmon seine boats in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska is an r2p success story and provided the foundation for NIOSH’s current work developing auxiliary stops and static guards for deck winches in the Gulf of Mexico shrimp fishery.

NIOSH is supporting external research into on-deck safety as well. The Harvard School of Public Health is conducting the Northeastern Winch Safety Improvement Projectexternal icon investigating drum winch safety for fishing vessels on the East Coast. Researchers at the Pacific Northwest Center for Agriculture Safety and Health (PNASH) are analyzing non-fatal injuries among commercial fishermen in Washington, Oregon, and Alaskaexternal icon.

OSHA has developed a series of fact sheets on commercial fishingexternal icon and ship repairexternal icon addressing other on-board hazards including fallspdf iconexternal icon, confined spacespdf iconexternal icon and working with refrigerantspdf iconexternal icon.

For more information and other resources related to deck safety and non-fatal injuries in commercial fishing visit our Publication page.

Page last reviewed: October 1, 2021, 09:20 AM