Session 5D – Health and Safety Interventions

Tuesday, June 12, 9:00am – 10:30am, Arts and Administration Building, Room A1043

5D.1  Use of an Ergonometer to teach lifting & movingJerry Dzugan, Alaska Marine Safety Education Association (Presentation slides).

This presentation will highlight the use of an Ergometer to teach the principles of lifting and moving to commercial fishermen, fish processing and aquaculture workers.

Commercial fish workers are at high risk for Muscular-Skeletal Disorders (MSDs) and the problem in endemic in this industry. Alaska Fishermen’s Fund and other studies have demonstrated that MSDs are by far the leading chronic medical problem that fishermen face.

One of the problems with teaching better ergonomic lifting and moving practices is that many commercial fish workers come from non-English speaking populations. It is complicated by the fact that the location of many of these work sites are remote and hard to access. It is also difficult to break the lifelong lifting and moving habits of adults, so an effective teaching methodology has to be employed in order to change behavior.

Don Bloswick, Ph.D., an engineering professor emeritis at the University of Utah, has been using an ergometer for years in his engineering classes to demonstrate the negative effect on muscles and tendons when using force and poor posture. We have worked with Prof. Bloswik to modify his curriculum to be appropriate for commercial fish workers and have brought this training to over 3,500 commercial fish workers on all coasts of the U.S. This presentation will focus on a demonstration of how the ergometer can be used with fish workers to demonstrate the force on the muscles when using the hand and arm as well as the back to do common repetitive motion tasks that are common in fisheries. It will also demonstrate the effectiveness of this teaching method to workers that do not have a common language.


5D.2  Building better flotation: Moving research to practice in the PFD industryTed Teske, Devin Lucas, Jennifer Lincoln, and Christy Forrester, U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

Most work-related fatalities in the United States fishing industry are caused by drowning after a vessel disaster or a fall overboard. Although the risk of drowning is high, most deckhands do not wear personal flotation devices (PFDs) while working on the deck. There are currently no mandates by regulatory agencies in the United States for these workers to wear PFDs.

NIOSH conducted a study among fishermen in four different fishing fleets to determine which type of commercially available PFD resulted in the highest satisfaction in actual fishing industry working conditions. Six PFD models were selected to provide a variety of features to test for comfort and functionality. The study revealed that workers on different types of fishing vessels had varying preferences for PFDs. This study also looked at predictors of PFD use based on perceptions and attitudes related to PFDs. Major barriers included concerns about comfort and risk of entanglement. Because no regulations mandating the use of PFDs exist, manufacturers may have more success in supplying PFDs if they engage workers in the design and promotion of newer, more comfortable PFDs.

Based on the results of the NIOSH PFD study, a U.S. PFD manufacturer realized there was a need for innovative PFD designs to improve comfort for workers in the fishing industry. They extended the NIOSH study and took a variety of commercially available PFDs to test on several boats where crewmembers gave feedback on the mobility of each PFD. Based on their market research, the company developed a prototype designed to be worn under bibs and raingear with 12 lbs. (50N) of flotation, the optimal amount to maintain a low profile while still providing buoyancy.

This Presentation will discuss the relevant findings on PFD perceptions among commercial fishermen from the NIOSH study as well as how these barriers were addressed in developing a novel PFD specifically for commercial fishermen.


5D.3  RESCUES: Responding to emergencies at sea and to communities under extreme stressAnn Backus, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and NIOSH Education and Research Center

Background: As in other parts of the world, fishing families and communities in the United States have struggled for hundreds of years to respond to the high number of fatalities associated with a historically hazardous industry. Individual fishermen have sought ways to reduce their own risk, and communities have developed organizations such as Fishermen’s Wives and infrastructure to support grieving families and communities.

Methodology: With funding from the Massachusetts Fishing Partnership Support Services, three researchers implemented a descriptive study to capture how individual fishermen and entire communities respond to the stress of loss. Researchers and community stakeholders interviewed fishermen, family members, city government and US Coast Guard personnel, local agency staff and others in the fishing communities of Gloucester, MA, New Bedford, MA, and Point Judith, Rhode Island. The transcribed interviews were analyzed using NVivo™ software. The information was compiled into a handbook – a template for communities seeking to reduce the risk of fatality or disability and help ensure a community-wide, comprehensive response in the face of loss or disaster.

Approach: The presentation will elaborate on the handbook chapters, covering risk reduction strategies for fishermen and resilience-increasing strategies for families and communities. The initial handbook, based on information from Massachusetts communities, has been adapted for the states of Maine and New Hampshire. Discussion about potential additional adaptations will be encouraged.

In addition the presenter will discuss expansion of the utility of this handbook beyond the losses related to fishing to include the losses that communities vulnerable in the face of climate variability (increasing frequency and severity of storms) may experience in the future.


5D.4  Fixed guard designs for deck winches used on side-trawl shrimping boats Chelsea WoodwardDavid Sweet, and Grant King, U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) (Presentation slides).

Workers in the United States commercial fishing industry has one of the highest occupational fatality rates. It is nearly 25 times higher in 2014 than the rate for all U.S. During 2000–2014, 694 fishermen were killed in the U.S. fishing industry, where 12% of fatalities (82 deaths) were caused by injuries sustained onboard vessels, such as entanglement in machinery. Additionally, NIOSH has shown that most (67%) severe nonfatal injuries occur on deck during the deployment and retrieval of fishing gear. Entanglement fatalities of deckhands in the U.S. occurred most often in the Gulf of Mexico, where the Southern shrimping fleet operates off the Southern and Atlantic coasts from North Carolina to Florida and on throughout Texas waters.

The Southern shrimping side-trawl fleet deck machinery includes large open winches. The fleet is established with few new boats, and with few new winches in use. The use of older and sometimes antiquated deck winches is common throughout the fishery. The ubiquitous use of these legacy winches offer challenges to improving their safe operation, and to prevent or to reduce the severity of winch entanglement injuries of the workers. Working towards this goal, NIOSH engineers have designed retrofit fixed-guarding, standardized to fit three of the most common winch types and models in use.

This presentation will discuss a brief history of these designs and the development challenges of standardizing fixed-guards to models of deck winches that have changed dimensions over time.


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