Commercial Fishing Occupational Safety TrainingProject Grants (T03)

Commercial fishing is one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States, with workers at high risk for many different kinds of injuries and fatalities.

The industry is comprised of diverse vessels and gear used to catch seafood and while there are hazards which are pervasive such as dangerous

weather conditions, specific hazards and the risk of those hazards vary by vessel and gear type.

During 2000-2016, an annual average of 41 deaths occurred in the industry - a fatality rate of 115 deaths per 100,000 workers - compared with an average of 4 deaths per 100,000 workers among all U. S. workers (NIOSH, 2018).

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that from 2000-2016, 755 commercial fishermen died while fishing in the United States (NIOSH, 2018).

Nearly half of these fatalities (364, 48%) occurred after a vessel disaster, 30% (227) when a commercial fisherman fell overboard, and 13% (97) from injuries sustained onboard (NIOSH, 2018).

The remaining 67 (9%) fatalities occurred either while diving or from onshore injuries (NIOSH, 2018).

Injuries sustained onboard include unintentional overdoses that occurred on vessels.

NIOSH has looked at some of these types of events more carefully to identify risk factors.

For instance, from 2000-2016, none of the victims in fatal falls overboard were wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) when they drowned.

In addition, 59% of the falls were unwitnessed, and alcohol and drugs contributed to over 18% of all fatalities (Case et al, 2018).

Fatigue or falling asleep at the helm was a known contributing factor in 42% of all fishing vessel disasters 2010-2015 (fatal and non-fatal) that began with the vessel running aground (79) (NIOSH Unpublished Dataset, 2018).

While on-deck injuries account for just 13% of fatal injuries, they account for the largest number of hospitalized non-fatal injuries among commercial fishermen (NIOSH Unpublished Dataset, 2018).

The leading causes of fatal vessel disasters vary from region to region.

During 2010-2014, the West Coast has the highest percentage of fatalities due to vessel disasters (60%), and many of these incidents are due to crossing dangerous river bars (NIOSH, 2017).

In comparison, vessel disasters accounted for 33% of fatalities in Alaska, with most victims working in small, undecked skiffs (NIOSH, 2017).

Vessels operating in Alaska also have an increased risk of icing, which can lead to vessel instability and subsequent capsizing.

In the Gulf of Mexico, fatal vessel collisions were more prevalent than in other regions (NIOSH, 2017).

Vessel disasters and falls overboard resulted in the same number of fatalities on the East Coast, and three of the most high-risk fisheries in the country are in this region (NIOSH, 2017).

Despite some recent successes in reducing fatal work-related injuries within the commercial fishing industry, the need for safety training and intervention activities remains essential.

Training in emergency drills, survival, damage control, fire prevention and firefighting, stability, seamanship, fatigue awareness and prevention, watchkeeping and weather forecasting is needed to reduce occupational safety risk in the US fishing industry.

Having trained crew and operators that know how to prevent and appropriately respond to at-sea emergencies can mean the difference between life and death, particularly in remote, offshore locations where assistance may be delayed.
Related Programs

Occupational Safety and Health Program

Department of Health and Human Services

Agency: Department of Health and Human Services

Office: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - ERA

Estimated Funding: $3,000,000

Relevant Nonprofit Program Categories

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Eligible Organizations Higher Education Institutions ◦Public/State Controlled Institutions of Higher Education ◦Private Institutions of Higher Education The following types of Higher Education Institutionsare always encouraged to apply for NIH support as Public or PrivateInstitutions of Higher Education: ◦Hispanic-serving Institutions ◦Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) ◦Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs) ◦Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions ◦Asian American Native American Pacific Islander ServingInstitutions (AANAPISIs) Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education ◦Nonprofits with 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institutions ofHigher Education) ◦Nonprofits without 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institutionsof Higher Education) For-Profit Organizations ◦Small Businesses ◦For-Profit Organizations (Other than Small Businesses) Governments ◦State Governments ◦County Governments ◦City or Township Governments ◦Special District Governments ◦Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Federally Recognized) ◦Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Other than FederallyRecognized) ◦Eligible Agencies of the Federal Government ◦U. S. Territory or Possession Other ◦Independent School Districts ◦Public Housing Authorities/Indian Housing Authorities ◦Native American Tribal Organizations (other than Federallyrecognized tribal governments) ◦Faith-based or Community-based Organizations ◦Regional Organizations ◦Bona Fide Agents: a Bona Fide Agent is an agency/organizationidentified by the state as eligible to submit an application under the stateeligibility in lieu of a state application.

If applying as a bona fide agent ofa state or local government, a legal, binding agreement from the state or localgovernment as documentation of the status is required.

Attach with "OtherAttachment Forms" when submitting via ( ◦Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs):FFRDCs are operated, managed, and/or administered by a university or consortiumof universities, other not-for-profit or nonprofit organization, or anindustrial firm, as an autonomous organization or as an identifiable separateoperating unit of a parent organization.

A FFRDC meets some special long-termresearch or development need which cannot be met as effectively by an agency's existingin-house or contractor resources.

FFRDC's enable agencies to use private sectorresources to accomplish tasks that are integral to the mission and operation ofthe sponsoring agency.

For more information on FFRDCs, go to

Foreign Institutions Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) arenot eligible to apply.

Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U. S. Organizations are not eligibleto apply.

Foreign components, as defined in the HHSGrants Policy Statement are not allowed.

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