A review of fatal accident incidence rate trends in fishing

Int Marit Health. 2014;65(2):47-52. doi: 10.5603/IMH.2014.0011.


Background: Injury prevention in fishing is one of the most important occupational health challenges.

Aim: The aim was to describe and compare internationally the trends of the fatal injury incidence rates and to discuss the impact of the implemented safety programs.

Materials and methods: The review is based on journal articles and reports from the maritime authorities in Poland, United Kingdom, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, United States and Alaska and Canada. The original incidence rates were recalculated as per 1,000 person-years for international comparison of the trends.

Results: The risk of fatal accidents in fishing in the northern countries has been reduced by around 50% to an average of about 1 per 1,000 person-years. Norway and Canada keep the lowest rates with around 0.5 and 0.25 per 1,000 person-years. About half of the fatal injuries are related to vessel disasters and drowning. The safety programs seem to have good effects, but the risk is still about 25 to 50 times higher than for onshore workers.

Conclusions: The overall fatal injury rates in the European and North American studies decreased by around 50% most probably as result of the implemented safety programs. However the high risk in fishing compared to onshore workers calls for continued and intensified safety programs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / mortality*
  • Accidents, Occupational / prevention & control
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Fisheries*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Occupational Health
  • Occupational Injuries / etiology
  • Occupational Injuries / mortality*
  • Occupational Injuries / prevention & control
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology