Shrimp Boat Injuries

Boat with net surrounded by birds

Shrimp Boat Injuries – Drum and Cathead Winch Entanglements

According to a 2011 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), commercial fishermen have the highest occupational fatality rate in the nation. In 2011, the fatality rate for these workers was nearly 35 times higher than the fatality rate of all workers in the United States. From the period 2000-2009 there were 504 deaths in the U.S. fishing industry – 51 percent of these deaths were drownings from vessels sinking, 30 percent were due to falls overboard and 10 percent were a result of onboard injuries, such as workers becoming entangled in equipment and machinery. In its report, the CDC notes that the majority of fatalities resulting from onboard injuries and entanglements take place in the Gulf of Mexico.

In an effort to further examine entanglement injuries and deaths in the commercial fishing industry in this report, the CDC gathered data from its Commercial Fishing Incident Database and the U.S. Coast Guard. From 2000-2011 there were eight winch entanglement fatalities and 27 winch entanglement injuries in the Southern shrimp fleet which operates in eight states in the Gulf of Mexico and the South Atlantic. These fatalities and injuries involved winch drums, capstan winch, and winch catheads, with winch drum entanglements having a higher risk of fatality than winch catheads.

According to the CDC report, fatalities due to winch entanglements could be connected to the following factors:

  • Lack of guards on winches or catheads
  • Workers wearing loose clothing
  • Fishermen working by themselves
  • A need for better cable winding guides

In addition to these elements, the CDC notes that providing deckhands with appropriate training in first aid and emergency procedures might work to reduce the severity of injuries when a drum or cathead winch entanglement occurs.

Contact a Shrimp Boat Accident Attorney

Using a winch drum, anchor winch, capstan winch or cathead hoist on a fishing boat, barge, tug or vessel can be dangerous. If you have been hurt in a winch-related entanglement or have been injured in any other type of shrimp boat accident, such as a slip on deck, a fall from a ladder, worn our equipment or any other hazardous condition, you should discuss your situation with an experienced maritime attorney as quickly as possible. Not only are your injuries painful, they may also keep you off of the job for a long period of time and can even prevent you from ever returning to your prior work.

It is important to know that there are numerous federal and state laws that give shrimp boat workers the legal right to receive financial compensation when they are injured on the job. While these laws are designed to protect vulnerable and injured workers, they are complicated and are best handled by a skilled attorney who has extensive experience handling boating and other maritime accident cases.

For more than 40 years the Willis Law Firm has been helping injured shrimp boat workers, maritime workers, crew members and other employees collect the financial compensation that they need to recover from serious work-related injuries.  We offer free confidential consultations and provide skilled legal representation to injured maritime workers nationwide. Call us today at 1-800-468-4878.

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