01. tbl. 96. árg. 2010


Fatal accidents and non-fatal injuries amongst seamen in Iceland 2001-2005

Slys meðal sjómanna á Íslandi árin 2001-2005

Objectives: This study aims at getting a comprehensive view of the incidence, nature and circumstances leading up to injuries in Icelandic waters in 2001-2005.

Material and methods: The NOMESCO database at Landspitali University Hospital registers prospectively accidents at sea treated in the Emergency Department, including circumstances leading to the accident, vessel type, experience, task being performed, weather conditions etc. The Icelandic Marine Accident Investigation Board provided data on fatal injuries, and additional information on injuries at sea was collected from the Social Insurance Administration (SIA).

Results: Of 17 fatal accidents occurring in 2001-2005 14 were work related which amounts to 54/100.000 seamen/year. The SIA received 1787 injury reports (7% of registered seamen), 826 sought assistance at Landspitali, 52 were admitted with an average injury severity score of 5.5 (1-16) and no ensuing fatalities. Most accidents occurred on fishing vessels (87%), 51% thereof on trawlers. Experienced fishermen are most commonly injured, working on deck in daylight and stable weather. 

Conclusions: Fatalities have declined steadily in the last two decades, yet 7% of registered fishermen sustain injuries each year. These occur amongst experienced fishermen in good external conditions, which calls for revision of safety procedures on board. 

Table I. The table shows an overview of all fatal accidents at sea, all accidents reported to the Social Insurance Administration and all visits to the Emergency Department at Landspitali University Hospital due to accidents at sea the period 2001-2005.  Average numbers for the periond are also shown.

Table II. The table shows an overview of tasks during non-fatal accidents.  The first column shows tasks in fishing ships, the second column shows tasks in other ships and the last column shows an overview of all accidents.  Handling fishing gear is the most common cause of accidents.

Table III. The table shows an overview of position of the injured onboard when the accident occurred.
The majority of accidents occur on deck.

Table IV
– Mechanism of injury. The table shows the incidence of accidents in relation to injury mechanism in non-fatal injuries.  More than half of injuries are caused by blow or fall.

Figure 1 - Work experience
The figure shows the relation between work experience and incidence of non-fatal accidents.  The largest single group has more than 5 years at sea but the majority (70%) has more than 5 years at sea.

Figure 2 – Sea condition
The figure shows the incidence of non-fatal accidents in relation to sea condition. The majority of accidents occur in relatively quiet sea.

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