Traumatic Work Related Fatalities in Commercial Fishermen in Australia

Occup Environ Med. 1994 Sep;51(9):612-6. doi: 10.1136/oem.51.9.612.


Objectives: To describe the types and circumstances of traumatic work related fatalities in Australian commercial fishermen.

Methods: Work related traumatic fishing fatalities were studied as part of a larger study of all work related traumatic fatalities in Australia from 1982 to 1984. Data on 47 cases were obtained from inspection of coroners' files.

Results: The incidence of fatality of 143/100,000 person-years was 18 times higher than the incidence of fatality for the entire workforce, and considerably higher than that of the mining and agricultural workforces. 68% of decedents drowned and 13% died from physical trauma. Rough weather, non-seaworthy vessels, inadequate use of personal flotation devices, and inexperience were associated with many of the fatal incidents.

Discussion: Improved vessel and equipment maintenance, better training of workers, greater use of personal flotation devices, and development of improved clothing and personal flotation devices are recommended.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / mortality*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Cause of Death
  • Drowning / mortality
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Naval Medicine
  • Occupational Diseases / mortality*
  • Occupational Health
  • Wounds and Injuries / mortality*