One of the most deadly jobs in America is commercial Dungeness crab fishing, yet according to a new study from Oregon State University (OSU), many non-fatal injuries in the industry largely go unreported. The study conducted by OSU found the rate of fatal injuries in commercial Dungeness crab fishing to be 65 times higher than the rate for all United States workers; however, the nonfatal injury rate was 3 times lower. For example, from 2002-2014 28 people died while commercially fishing for Dungeness crab, while only 45 injuries were reported. In addition, it was found that the majority of deaths occurred during vessel disasters such as capsizing or sinking. Furthermore, the most common reported injury was fractures; 47 percent of nonfatal injuries occurred on-deck when fishermen were working with gear. Researchers found the cause of underreporting to be the result of concerns of financial and regulatory repercussions. Barriers to reporting also may play a role in the underreporting of injuries.
The research that OSU has found is part of a project, The Fishermen Led Injury Prevention Program (FLIPP), which is designed to take a new approach to fishing industry injury prevention by working with commercial Dungeness crab fishermen to identify and reduce injury risks.
At Kraft Davies Olsson we believe every fisherman should report the injuries they suffer while fishing and applaud Oregon State University’s FLIPP project to identify and reduce the risk of injuries in the commercial fishing industry. When injuries go unreported, workers may go uncompensated for life-long injuries that will impact their ability to earn a living in the future and impose greater costs on society as a whole.