Seafarers have the highest workplace fatality rate

Being a merchant seaman or working on a trawler are the UK’s two most
dangerous occupations.

A study by Oxford University’s department of public health concludes that
merchant seafaring and trawler fishing, which have traditionally been the
country’s most dangerous occupations, still top the danger list. And the rise
of new industries such as energy and water supply, have failed to impact on the
situation, said epidemiologist and study author Stephen Roberts.

Fisherman are 52.4 times more likely to have a fatal accident at work, and
seafarers 26.2 times more likely to die than other UK workers even though the
number of work-related deaths in these occupations has decreased in recent
decades, says the survey, published in The Lancet.

The study looked at accident rates between 1976 and 1995, comparing the two
occupations with other industries.

In that period, 454 fishermen and 507 merchant seafarers died. The fatality
rate per 100,000 workers for each industry was 103.1 and 51.6 respectively.

The next most dangerous occupation is energy and water supply, where 700
workers died at a rate of 10 per 100,000.

"If mortality rates in these [two] occupations are to decrease, unsafe
working practices, especially unnecessary operations in treacherous conditions,
should be reduced," said Roberts.

Lancet 2002; 360: 543-44

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