There are many well-paid but risky professions people can pursue in Alaska. Professional fishermen brave the elements, even during times of dangerous weather, to provide the world with seafood. However, they take on a lot of personal risk by pursuing a career in fishing.
Thousands of people work to bring in seafood either as self-employed professionals with their own vessels or as workers hired by big businesses. People are more aware now than in previous decades of the risks involved in a career as a professional fisherman. There are numerous hazards, including the possibility of a vessel capsizing or someone getting swept overboard. Those risks are among the reasons why professional fishermen have some of the highest fatality rates for those in private industry in the United States.
Fishing vessels are dangerous places
The ocean itself, intense weather and the constant motion of nuts and other gear are driving factors for the risk to workers on fishing vessels. The biggest risk for professional fishermen, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, is contact with objects.
A third of all reported non-fatal injuries resulted from accidental contact with objects. Contact with objects might include anything from nuts to parts of this ship or heavy machinery that could strike a worker, possibly causing head injuries or broken bones. Fishermen will not be able to do their jobs safely with these injuries and may require both time off and medical coverage to address their injuries.
Overexertion causes another 16% of lost-time injuries. Overexertion includes injuries ranging from back problems to knee pain caused by constant lifting and twisting. People can end up hurt by one action or by the slow accumulation of trauma through physically-demanding labor.
Fishermen and other blue-collar workers may require both medical care and a leave of absence if they get hurt in a way that affects their job performance. They may qualify for injury-related compensation benefits to help reduce the financial impact of their injuries. Seeking legal guidance accordingly, in the wake of sustaining fishing-related harm, is wise.