It probably comes as no surprise that commercial fishing is one of the most dangerous occupations for U.S. workers. However, it may shock you to learn which injuries are most likely to happen, as well as how often injuries and deaths occur from the same hazards every year. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), fisherman are most likely to suffer:
- Vessel disasters. Disasters and sinking of ships are the biggest causes of commercial fisherman death, accounting for half of all fishermen fatalities between 2000 and 2014.
- Falls overboard. Over 200 fishermen were killed due to falls overboard between 2000 and 2014, making man overboard (MOB) fatalities the second leading cause of death for U.S. commercial fishermen.
- Deck injuries. Slips, trips, and falls on deck account for most injuries (and 12% of deaths) in the commercial fishing industry. Open hatches, missing guardrails, wet decks, high tension lines, and unsecured equipment are just a few of the hazards that cause contact injuries every year.
- Ship repair accidents. Several fishermen are injured every year during repairs and maintenance tasks, including welding, cutting, construction, shipbreaking, cleaning storage tanks, and exposure to refrigerants.
- Injuries in confined spaces. Sailors face atmospheric hazards including low or high oxygen levels, toxic gases, and flammable materials, as well as the danger of becoming entangled or trapped in a confined area.
- On-shore injuries. Although less common, fishermen are still at risk death and injury while working in on-shore fisheries. These injuries can include falls from the dock into the water and exposure to chemical hazards.
When Can Fishermen Qualify for Jones Act Injury Compensation?
A fisherman who has been assigned to a specific vessel qualifies for injury compensation under the Jones Act. Not only does this cover medical treatment and wage compensation, but the fisherman can also pursue a negligence claim if his employer failed to properly train employees or provide adequate and safe equipment.
For example, if your employer failed to create or enforce safety policies, conduct monthly safety drills, install and maintain alarm systems, provide working safety and rescue devices, or ensure crew member compliance with required safety training, you could have a valid negligence claim. Please feel free to use our website to learn more about how negligence affects your Jones Act case.