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|Unique Workplace Hazards of Working at Sea
|Although commercial fishing is hazardous, the Columbia River Bar Pilots face
unique on-the-job dangers. Read about them in the linked Smithsonian Magazine
article. Then there are the hazards of collision at sea (see Anatomy of a Collision) as
well as workplace electrocution, slip and fall accidents, confined workspace loss of
respiratory function, suffocation or chemical exposure and burn injuries as on-the-job
hazards of the commercial maritime industry. Coast Guard investigations about fatal
workplace accidents in the marine and commercial fishing industry bear moot
testimony to the unique hazards of working at sea.
Workplace wrongful death and catastrophic injuries occur at disturbingly high levels
in the commercial fishing industry. In one of these tragic accidents on the Bering Sea,
an open watertight hatch was a culprit - see Arctic Rose sinking - USCG Investigation.
It's not just sinking or fire. Assault against a crew by another crew member is
described in this article. While one can experience workplace violence anywhere,
wrongful death, permanent disability, fractures and drowning deaths run higher odds
at sea. Article that Gulf shrimping, not Bering Sea crabbing claims most lives.
The grim statistics of fishing
vessel loss of life is illustrated in
a pie chart prepared by the U.S.
Coast Guard at left.
Plate freezers, like those found
on many processing fishing
vessels, were part of the refit of
Arctic Rose. In the investigation,
it was stated that the ship's
arrangement increased the
likelihood of progressive
flooding from the processing
space, starting with a door at the
aft bulkhead of the processing
space. See the link above to
read the full investigation report.