Nav: Home

Workers' compensation claims offer insight into seafood processing injuries in Oregon

March 16, 2017

CORVALLIS, Ore. - A review of workers' compensation claims indicates that workers in Oregon's seafood processing industry are suffering serious injuries at higher rates than the statewide average, and the rate of injuries appears to be on the rise, researchers at Oregon State University have found.

Researchers examined 188 "disabling" claims, or claims from employees who missed work, were hospitalized overnight or whose injuries left them permanently impaired. They found that the average annual rate of claims was 24 per 1,000 workers, said Laura Syron, a doctoral student in OSU's College of Public Health and Human Sciences and lead author of the study.

"Fortunately, Oregon's seafood processing industry did not experience any fatalities during the study period, but the rate of injuries during that period is higher than Oregon's all-industry average," Syron said.

"This is an industry that merits more research and more support. Our goal is to use this information to assist seafood processing companies in the Pacific Northwest with protecting workers' safety and health."

The study is believed to be the first to examine worker safety and health in Oregon's seafood processing industry. The findings were published this month in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.

OSU researchers collaborated with the Oregon Health Authority on the study. Co-authors of the paper are Laurel Kincl, an assistant professor of environmental and occupational health; Ellen Smit, an associate professor of epidemiology; environmental and occupational health doctoral student Liu Yang; and Daniel Cain, with the state of Oregon.

The study is part of a broader effort at OSU to understand and address hazards in the maritime industry.

"This important work compliments injury prevention my colleagues and I are conducting with commercial fishing fleets in the region," said co-author Kincl, who is Syron's advisor.

Seafood is the most-traded food commodity internationally, and the value of processed seafood products in the U.S. topped $10 billion in 2015. The dangers of commercial fishing have drawn a lot of attention over the years through reality television programs and highly-publicized disasters and safety incidents.

But there is limited research on occupational health and safety in onshore seafood processing, a food-manufacturing industry that includes cleaning, canning, freezing and other packaging and preparation. In Oregon, employment in the seafood processing industry grew steadily between 2010 and 2013, with 1,240 workers employed in the industry in 2013.

"Processing is a critical component of the seafood supply chain, and it does not get as much attention as the fishing itself," Syron said. "Processing adds value to the product and it is also demanding work that can lead to significant injuries."

The researchers' review of workers' compensation disabling claims accepted for compensation between 2007 and 2013 showed the rate of injuries among workers in the industry was more than twice that of Oregon industries overall. The most common injuries included traumatic injuries to muscles, tendons, ligaments or joints. The most frequent events that resulted in injuries were overexertion and contact with equipment or objects.

"The workers' compensation data gives us insight into the most severe incidents and those that cost employers the most money," Syron said.

The workers' compensation disabling data doesn't provide enough detail about the circumstances of the workers at the time of their injuries, so that is one area that warrants further study before prevention recommendations could be made, she said.

For her doctoral dissertation, Syron plans to examine seafood processing in Alaska, where seafood is an economically and culturally important natural resource. In that research, Syron will continue to explore injury reports in both at-sea and on-shore facilities. With interviews, she hopes to learn from companies' safety and health managers and directors, whose roles are dedicated to protecting workers' well-being.
-end-


Oregon State University

Related Fishing Articles:

Fishing can cause slowly reversible changes in gene expression
Cohort after cohort, fishing typically removes large fish from the population and can lead to rapid evolutionary changes in exploited fish populations.
New study suggests overfishing in one of world's most productive fishing regions
Scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego used images from satellites and flyovers to count the number of small boats, or pangas, to find that fishing in Gulf of California, which separates Baja California and mainland Mexico, is over capacity.
Banning transshipment at-sea necessary to curb illegal fishing, researchers conclude
Banning transshipment at-sea -- the transfer of fish and supplies from one vessel to another in open waters -- is necessary to diminish illegal fishing, a team of researchers has concluded after an analysis of existing maritime regulations.
How to clamp down on cyanide fishing
Spraying cyanide in tropical seas can quickly and cheaply stun fish, allowing them to be easily captured and sold.
Unrestricted improvements in fishing technology threaten the future of seafood
A study conducted by ICTA-UAB (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) researcher Eric Galbraith shows that future improvement of fishing technology poses a threat for the global fishery that could be greater than climate change.
Supramolecular protein fishing with molecular baits
Scientists from the Center for Self-assembly and Complexity (CSC) successfully isolated a cancer-prone protein by fishing out the proteins using 'molecular bait'.
Hidden no more: First-ever global view of transshipment in commercial fishing industry
A new report released today presents the first global map of transshipment, a major pathway for illegally caught and unreported fish to enter the seafood market.
Climate change and fishing create 'trap' for penguins
Endangered penguins are foraging for food in the wrong places due to fishing and climate change, new research shows.
Intense industrial fishing
A new study by the Bren School examines how China maintains large catches and what it means for fishery management elsewhere
Diversification key to resilient fishing communities
Fishing communities can survive -- and even thrive -- as fish abundance and market prices shift if they can catch a variety of species and nimbly move from one fishery to the next, a new University of Washington study finds.

Related Fishing Reading:

Basic Fishing: A Beginner's Guide
by Wade Bourne (Author)

Fifty Places to Fly Fish Before You Die
by Chris Santella (Author)

Fisherman's Ultimate Knot Guide
by John E. Sherry (Author)

The Total Fishing Manual (Paperback Edition): 317 Essential Fishing Skills (Field & Stream)
by Joe Cermele (Author)

Gone Fishing: A novel
by Tamera Will Wissinger (Author), Matthew Cordell (Illustrator)

Incredible--and True!--Fishing Stories
by Shaun Morey (Author)

Fishing for Summer Flounder: Fluke Jigging from Shore, Boat, and Kayak
by John Skinner (Author)

Fishing: A Guide to Fresh and Salt-Water Fishing
by George S. Fichter (Author), Phil Francis (Author), Tom Dolan (Illustrator), Ken Martin (Illustrator), Harry McKnaught (Illustrator)

Fishing for Dummies
by Peter Kaminsky (Author), Greg Schwipps (Author)

The Orvis Fly-Fishing Guide, Revised
by Tom Rosenbauer (Author)

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Hacking The Law
We have a vision of justice as blind, impartial, and fair — but in reality, the law often fails those who need it most. This hour, TED speakers explore radical ways to change the legal system. Guests include lawyer and social justice advocate Robin Steinberg, animal rights lawyer Steven Wise, political activist Brett Hennig, and lawyer and social entrepreneur Vivek Maru.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#495 Earth Science in Space
Some worlds are made of sand. Some are made of water. Some are even made of salt. In science fiction and fantasy, planet can be made of whatever you want. But what does that mean for how the planets themselves work? When in doubt, throw an asteroid at it. This is a live show recorded at the 2018 Dragon Con in Atlanta Georgia. Featuring Travor Valle, Mika McKinnon, David Moscato, Scott Harris, and moderated by our own Bethany Brookshire. Note: The sound isn't as good as we'd hoped but we love the guests and the conversation and we wanted to...