Fishing – The most dangerous job in the UK –

Fishing – The most dangerous job in the UK Published:  01 December, 2008

FISHING continues to be the most dangerous occupation in the UK with no sign of that situation improving, according to a report published by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB), on Friday.

The fatal accident rate for fishermen is 115 times higher than that of the general workforce in the UK, 24 times higher than the construction industry, and it has not got any safer in recent years.

256 fishermen working on UK registered fishing boats lost their lives

between 1992 and 2006, according to research from Swansea University,

published last year.

In response, the MAIB published a detailed study which analyses these

fatalities to learn lessons and make recommendations to organisations

concerned with marine safety.

The study found that 83 of the 256 men who died had gone overboard, 65

while the vessel was at sea and 18 while in the harbour.

Ninety nine of the fatalities were due to the vessel foundering, capsizing or missing, and a further 30 died due to accidents on board such as being struck by fishing gear.

In general terms, for every 100,000 active fishermen, 126 can expect to die every year, a rate many times higher than in any other industry. The study added: ‘The statistical analysis of MAIB accident data conducted for this study has revealed that although reported rates of some types of accidents have improved over the period between 1992 and 2006, in other respects, notably the fatality rate, there has been no significant improvement.

‘Reported accidents involving UK fishing vessels have fallen, but the

continued reduction in the size of the fleet means the accident rate has

been increasing since 2002.

‘Annual fatality figures have generally reduced over the 15 years, but the

rate of fatalities as a measure of the number of vessels and fishermen at

risk have both increased since 2002.’

Inspectors made the following recommendations to bodies such as the Marine

and Coastguard Agency (MCA), Seafish, the Scottish government and others:

‘to make it mandatory for vessels under 15 metre to carry emergency

position-indicating radio beacons (EPIRBS); to ensure that current mandatory training is strictly applied; to launch a training programme for fishermen operating vessels under 16.5

metres; new code of practice for the construction of fishing vessels; more inspections by a team of dedicated officers; align various rules and regulations to ensure higher safety standards.’

Chief inspector of marine accidents Stephen Meyer said the study was meant as a contribution ‘to the important work that must urgently be pursued to bring the accident rate in the fishing industry down to a level that is acceptable in the 21st century United Kingdom’.