Session 3B – Regional Approaches to Fishing Safety 1

Monday, June 11, 1:45pm -3:15pm, Arts and Administration Building, Room A1046

3B.1 Occupational injuries and disease in commercial fishing in Finland Kim Kaustell, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke); Tiina Mattila, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke); Risto Rautiainen, University of Nebraska Medical Center; Timo Hurme, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke); Pekka Salmi, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) (Presentation slides).

Fishing is a small industry sector in Finland with special characteristics involving use of small vessels, fishing on ice during winter months, and complementing household income from multiple sources. Most (93 %) coastal fishing vessels are less than 10 meters in length. Regulations and certifications of the skipper and personnel apply primarily to larger vessels.

Fishers are covered by workers compensation insurance. Claims data for self-employed fishers during 1996-2015 were analyzed to identify occupational injury and disease characteristics and risk factors. A total of 1954 fishers (full- or part time) had 1188 compensated occupational injury and disease claims during this period. The injury rate for commercial fishers was 2.5 times higher than the mean of all salaried workers. 40 % of the injuries happened on fishing vessels, including boarding and exiting. 11% happened on sea or lake ice. Actual fishing accounted for 42% of the injury incidents while other tasks included maintenance and repair of equipment as well as fish handling, transport, and storage. Common incident types included slips, trips and falls and falls to lower level. The median disability duration resulting from injury was 21 days. Most occupational diseases were caused by repetitive work, resulting in epicondylitis, bursitis, or tenosynovitis.

Male gender, Finnish mother tongue (vs. Swedish; both official languages in Finland), and higher income levels from fishing increased the odds of occupational injury and disease claims. Age, fishery location, career length, or participation in the voluntary occupational health service, were not significantly associated with compensated occupational insurance claims. Fisher interviews ranked regulations and inspections among least effective measures to promote occupational safety, while safety culture, work organization, and use of safety equipment were viewed as more effective measures. Awareness of these background factors, along with knowledge of typical injury causes, give guidance for further work on injury prevention.

3B.2 Analysis of injuries of fishing workers in the Faroe Islands 1972-2014 – Annbjørg á Høvdanum, Department of Occupational Medicine and Public Health, The Faroese Hospital System; Olaf Chresen Jensen, Center for Maritime Health and Society, University of Southern Denmark (Presentation slides).

Background: The fishing industry is over 90% of the Faroese export. In the period of 1972 – 2014, 4163 (33%) accidents at sea, out of 12.619 accidents in total were registered with the Faroese Accident Insurance Council (FAIC). All incidences that have caused physical or material injuries for workers are included. Of these, 3407 (27%) were from the fishing fleet.

Aim: The goal was to elucidate the scope of occupational injury to Faroese fishermen from 1972 to 2014; To describe the incidence rates and the main characteristics of the injuries, to compare risks at different levels, type of fishing, job titles, and ages and to suggest and discuss the possible prevention impact of the safety programs over the latest decennia. Because of large changes within fisheries, only preliminary analysis will be presented from data older than 1997, while the data from 1997 – 2014 will be used for preventive purposes.

Methods: Injury data was collected through the FAIC. All employers in the Faroe Islands are obligated by law to insure their workers. The data from accidents in fisheries was entered into Excel. Variables were re-coded and exported into SPSS for statistical analysis.

The number of man-days at sea was obtained from the fishermen’s security found, divided by ship-groups and occupation. Incident rates were calculated by dividing the number of injuries with the number of man-days at sea.

Results: The most prominent injury mechanisms were, hit by object and slip and fall accidents. The most prominent injured parts of the body were teeth and fingers.

Conclusions: The incidence rates of the non-fatal injuries were only slightly reduced from 1997-2014. When including the incidence rate per 1000 person-years, the accident number has stagnated since 2003. There is a need for continuing with the safety programs and monitoring the injuries in order to reduce numbers further.

3B.3 Health issues and difficulties for women in small-scale fishing activity in cities from the North Fluminense in Brazil – Luceni Hellebrandt and Silvia Alicia Martinez, Universidade Estadual do Norte Fluminense Darcy Ribeiro (Presentation slides).

This text presents an ongoing study held in the Baixadas Litorâneas from the north of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, being part of the issues investigated within the research project “Women in fishing: map of social-environmental conflicts in cities from the North Fluminense and Baixadas Litorâneas”. The study applies a gender lens in the fishing communities of the region so that the people investigated are women who work in small-scale fishing activity, developing diversified productive activities throughout the productive chain of fishing, such as harvesting, processing and marketing of fish. In the interviews conducted so far, when the health issue is addressed, we can see the recurrence of two matters: 1) there is no specific health program and/or guide to approach regarding fishing work-related diseases (such as spinal problems or repetitive strain injuries from improper posture to execute processing activities) and 2) the women’s difficulty in accessing health-related social security benefits, even when they present problems due to fishery activities, once there is a deep issue of invisibility and, consequently, a non-recognition of women in Brazilian fisheries legislation, especially those who execute processing activities. In spite of direct consequences on the body and health of these women, many of them continue to engage in fishing activities because, on many occasions, it is the only income possibility where they live. This situation reflects the precariousness of public policies targeted to populations whose way of life is based on small-scale fishing and, when the gender lens is applied in the investigation of occupational health, the result is even more worrying.


<Previous Session     (Back to Program Page)     Next Session>