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Serious accidents in the coastal fishing fleet – causes and preventive measures

This project will provide knowledge and propose concrete and targeted preventive measures for reducing the risk of serious occupational accidents and work-related absences in the coastal fishing fleet.

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The fishing industry has long traditions in Norway and stands for a lot of value creation, but for the fishers themselves, it is a demanding workplace. The Norwegian Parliament has adopted a vision for zero fatalities at sea among fishers. The number of fatal occupational accidents in fisheries is still very high, with an average of more than 5 fatalities per year in the period 2010–2021. Fatal accidents are prevalent in the coastal fishing fleet, and fishers who work alone on board are particularly vulnerable.

SINTEF Ocean has been a driving force for improvements in the health, safety and working environment of the fishing fleet for decades, and the work continues through this project. Creating safe workplaces is an important task, and finding the right preventive and mitigating measures requires a broad understanding of all the conditions that affect the risk of occupational accidents. The current knowledge base provides a valuable starting point, but there is a need for updated knowledge about both direct and indirect causes of accidents and strain injuries to ensure a systematic approach that supports the authorities’ and fishers’ efforts to prevent work-related absence.

Fishers are at risk for both serious occupational accidents and strain injuries. This project deals with HSE within the fishing fleet in various modes of operation. The project will focus on the following issues: Which hazardous events and causalities most frequently lead to fatal accidents, serious personal injury and work-related absence in the coastal fishing fleet? What targeted measures can help reduce the risk of occupational accidents and strain injuries?

The main objective of the project is to recommend concrete and targeted measures to reduce the risk of accidents and work-related absence based on current data about accidents and challenges in the coastal fishing fleet.

The project has three sub-goals:

  1. Gain knowledge about direct and indirect causes of acute injuries and strain injuries in the Norwegian fishing fleet based on updated accident statistics from available sources.
  2. Develop accident scenarios for the five most frequent events that result in death or serious injury as a basis for prioritising interventions. Highlight the need for preventive measures (physical/technical, organisational, regulatory).
  3. Develop targeted interventions in cooperation with key stakeholders (industry actors, technology and service providers, insurance, fisheries management and regulatory authorities).

Key Factors

Project duration

2023 - 2025

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