Vol 70, No 1 (2019)
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Published online: 2019-03-28

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Occupational injuries and diseases in fish farming in Finland 1996–2015

Kim Olavi Kaustell1, Tiina Elina Anneli Mattila1, Anssi Ahvonen1, Risto Heikki Rautiainen2
Pubmed: 30931517
IMH 2019;70(1):47-54.


Background: The agriculture, forestry and fishing industry sector has high rates of occupational injuries. Fishing has globally particularly high occupational fatality rates, but injuries and illnesses to people working in its sub-sectors, aquaculture and fish farming, are not well understood.

Materials and methods: This study characterised injuries and occupational diseases to fish farmers and people employed on fish farms in Finland using national employment and accident insurance (workers’ compensation) data. 

Results: A total of 392 injuries and 18 occupational diseases were compensated during 1996 to 2015 to fish farmers and people employed on fish farms in Finland. The average injury rate was 3.2 injuries per 100 employed persons with no significant trend over time. Two of the injuries were fatal. Injured persons were primarily male (87.2%), in 45–54 year age group (39.1%), and working in coastal areas (49%). Com- mon injury characteristics included: incident type: slips, trips, and falls (37%); location: building, structure or ground level surface (28%); injured body part: hand or finger (25%); type of injury: dislocation, sprain, strain (35%); and lost worktime: 1 to 2 weeks (26.9%). Seven out of 18 occupational diseases occurred to women, most resulting in cumulative trauma from fish processing. 

Conclusions: The injury rate in fish farming corresponds to rate in all industries combined in Finland, and is higher than the rate in available Nordic statistics on fish farming. Fish farming injuries could be reduced further by slip resistant surfaces, protection of hands and fingers and ergonomics in processing. 

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