Massachusetts Fishing Industry & the Risks of Work Accidents

Fishers and those who work in the fishing industry face some of the most dangerous working conditions. They face higher fatality rates than any other work position in the nation.

They’re required to work long hours under some of the harshest conditions. They stay on their boats for sometimes months at a time with little to no sleep to complete their job. They’re tossed around by the rough seas and the wind and are exposed to the elements. Weather? Doesn’t matter for fishers. The job must go on. And medical treatment? It’s not often available on the boat with only the Coast Guard to rely upon in case of emergency. All of these conditions contribute to the alarmingly high rate of work injuries and fatalities faced by these brave workers.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the fatality rate for these workers is more than 302 per 100,000 full-time workers. That’s more than 50 times the all-worker fatality rate, which is less than 4 per 100,000. From 2003 to 2009, there were more than 45 fishers and related workers who died each year in the field.

Our Boston workers compensation attorneys understand how important the fishing industry is in the New England area. Those who work in this industry meet the high demand of the public and do what it takes to make a living and support their families. In 2009, there were more than 30,000 fishers and related workers who were injured on the job.

From 2003 to 2009, there were roughly 610 workers in this industry who were injured badly enough to require days away from work. Contact with objects and overexertion were the leading causes of these injuries. Most of these workers experience sprains and strains or injuries that involved the trunk as the body part affected. For this industry, the rate of on-the-job illnesses and injuries that resulted in days away from work for these workers was more than 72 per 10,000 full-time workers in 2009.

Top 5 States for Industry Fatalities:

-Alaska: 70 fatalities.

-Massachusetts: 49 fatalities.

-Florida: 29 fatalities.

-Louisiana: 25 fatalities.

-Oregon: 25 fatalities.

Of the fishers and related workers who died on the job from 2003 to 2009, nearly half were self-employed. The rest were salary and wage workers. In a few cases, these workers do their job from their own boat. Most times, these workers are part of a fishing and production company that has a crew.

Fishing is a seasonal occupation, too. Not all fish, including shrimp and crabs, are available year round. It almost seems though, that when one of these fishing seasons is over, it’s time to gear up for another one and the cycle continues.

Contact Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers if you or a loved one has been injured on the job. Call (617) 777-7777 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

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Happy Labor Day from our Boston Workers’ Compensation Attorneys!, Massachusetts Workers Compensation Lawyers Blog, August 28, 2012

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