NIOSH Video Aims to Prevent Deaths at Sea

A new safety training and awareness video available free from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health aims to help prevent work-related deaths from drowning in commercial fishing. The video is the work of the Alaska Pacific Regional Office of NIOSH.

Falls overboard are the second leading cause of death among commercial fishermen nationwide. From 2000 through 2009, 155 commercial fishermen died after falling overboard. None of the victims were wearing a personal flotation device.

The video was filmed in Alaska in cooperation with the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association and Alaska Sea Grant. It contained solutions for reducing commercial fishing fatalities due to falls overboard, including demonstrations of man overboard drills and proper man overboard recovery techniques.

The video also features realistic rescue scenarios and interviews with commercial fishermen who have survived a fall overboard, pus a brief overview of NIOSH research into evaluating PFDs with commercial fishermen.

NIOSH is the federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related injury and illness. The NIOSH Alaska pacific Regional Office is located in Anchorage and since 1991 has worked to reduce the high rate of occupational fatalities in high-risk injuries such as commercial fishing. Jennifer Lincoln and Ted Teske of the Anchorage staff spoke recently in Kodiak with commercial fishermen about the importance of wearing personal flotation devices while at work on fishing vessels.

To learn more about the efforts of NIOSH and get your free copy of the video, visit