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Laws surrounding workplace fatalities in the fishing industry

On Behalf of | Mar 1, 2018 | Longshore Act

Whether it is a hot stove or heavy construction equipment, a large majority of industries pose some level of threat to employees. Even rush hour traffic presents some level of danger to the everyday nine-to-five New Yorker. Some industries, such as commercial fishing and other marine occupations, can threaten the lives of workers during each shift. Although jobs in the U.S. are reportedly getting safer, hazards can be an inherent part of this field of work. 

In most industries, employers must notify employees of the potential dangers specific to their field of work; this is a common step in the hiring process for many electricians, construction workers and roofers. In an article on dangerous jobs, Forbes adds commerical fishing to this list. Although the Bureau of Labor statistics for fatal work injuries show a decrease in the number of fatal accidents over recent years, work in fishing is nevertheless the second deadliest industry in America — at the time of the data’s release in 2012, commercial fishing’s fatality rate was was 117 per 100,000 full-time workers. Forbes noted that Alaskan shellfishing is particularly dangerous to workers, with rising fatalities over the years.

In the event of a fatal accident while on the job, family and friends are often overwhelmed by the subsequent process. The United States Department of Labor provides an accessible rundown of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, and states that in the case of a fatal fishing accident, a number of death benefits are available. Compensation includes funeral expenses of up to $3,000, and benefits paid to the widow or widower of the deceased. These benefits may vary depending on the number of surviving children. As for filing claims, surviving family must file within one year after the fatal accident. The USDOL provides additional information for surviving family and friends, regarding payment of compensation, insurance policies and other guidelines on this process.