Vol 67, No 3 (2016)
Original article
Published online: 2016-09-27

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Health status and occupational risk factors in Greek small fisheries workers

Elpida Frantzeskou, Olaf Chresten Jensen, Athena Linos
Pubmed: 27681212
IMH 2016;67(3):137-143.


Background: Fishing is an extremely dangerous occupational activity that predisposes to occupational diseases and accidents. Greece, with about 16,000 km of coastline and its unique morphological characteristics with small islands and peninsulas, represents a strong proof of its great tradition in the fisheries sector since ancient times. The aim of the study was to examine the health status and the health risk factors present in Greek fishery workers, by exploring their working environment, thus providing a current baseline for documentation of the needs for prevention and health promotion.

Materials and methods: An interviewer-administered questionnaire was distributed in 2013 to a random sample of 172 professional small-scale fishermen of the Evros district in North-Eastern Greece.

Results: Eighty-eight per cent worked in coastal fisheries and 73% were using small fishing vessels, less than 10 m in length overall. Health disorders included musculoskeletal, cardiovascular and visual problems and to a minor degree by hearing, dermatologic and respiratory problems in all age groups. Seventy per cent had experienced at least one occupational accident. Heavy smoking and daily alcohol consumption was seen among nearly half of the fishermen.

Conclusions: The health effects observed are causally related to the work process exposures on board and to diet, smoking, and lack of exercise. This in turn relates to the specific working conditions, the culture and level of education in small-scale fishing that need to be taken into consideration together in the prevention programmes.

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