January 29, 2014
For more than 20 years, NIOSH has been working to prevent accidental deaths in the fishing industry. Now, these safety experts are tackling injuries – the kind fishermen are used to getting every season.
In her time at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Jennifer Lincoln says she’s found a common cause behind the most serious fishing accidents.
“If you ask me what leads to fatalities in the fishing industry, it’s drowning,” Lincoln said. “It’s vessel losses and falls overboard.”
Lincoln directs the Alaska field office for NIOSH.
Their commercial fishing experts have been studying fatal accidents since 1991. Using their research, they’ve come up with a slew of mechanical gadgets – like door monitors and emergency winch stops – to make boats safer.
But Lincoln says it’s not clear if there’s a button or sensor out there that can keep fishermen from getting hurt.
“What we don’t know – what we don’t have as much information about – are non-fatal injuries,” Lincoln said.