Background Commercial sea fishing is known to be a hazardous occupation, but little quantitative research has been conducted in the UK.
Objective To describe the demography of commercial fishermen accessing NHS accident and emergency (AOE) services and profile the reasons for attendance.
Methods Eight NHS AME departments in North East Scotland participated in the audit. A structured data collection form was completed by the attending nurse or doctor during a 6 month period (March-August). All commercial sea fishermen attending during this time were included whether or not the reason for attendance was work-related.
Results There were 164 cases of which 133 (81%) presented with injuries and 19 (12%) with illnesses (12 unknown). Twenty-seven (16%) cases had required emergency evacuation from commercial vessels. The most frequent category of injury was 'hand', 'wrist' or 'finger' followed by 'head', 'face' and 'throat'.
Conclusion Commercial sea fishing is a dangerous occupation with many injuries requiring NHS ACE treatment. The relatively high level of injuries compared to illness indicates that there are still safety issues to be addressed and current risk assessment requirements need to be reviewed.
- accident and emergency
- occupational accidents