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FISHING VESSEL SAFETY: Blueprint for a National Program 5 The Fishermen The role individual fishermen play in the chain of events leading to vessel casualties and fatalities has long been a concern in the fishing industry (Piche et al., 1987; Piche, 1985; Pizzo and Jaeger, 1974). The extent of that role is not sufficiently appreciated in many marine accident investigations because they focus on primary causes without exploring underlying factors: for example, whether the right decisions were made or qualification standards met, rather than the contribution of human behavior generally (National Research Council [NRC], 1981). By contrast, other injury-prevention research in the United States has concentrated more attention on the role of people rather than physical and product-oriented issues (NRC, 1985). In marine casualties, terms like personnel error, human error, human causes, and personnel fault are not well defined. They generally refer to errors in judgment or acts of commission or omission leading to a casualty, and to ignorance and poor training (Dynamics Research Corporation, 1989; NRC, 1985, 1981, 1976). This report uses casualty terms consistent with the data and literature, but collectively the term “human factors” is preferred because it encompasses all human attributes bearing on safety. Possible safety-improvement options related to human factors are identified and discussed in this chapter. Quantitative data alone are not conclusive, nor do they provide sufficient insight into human factors. However, the anecdotal evidence is abundant. That information, coupled with human factors research in other industries, has guided the committee's examination of this important area of concern.
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FISHING VESSEL SAFETY: Blueprint for a National Program HUMAN FACTORS AND VESSEL CASUALTIES There is rarely a single cause of accidents. When people interact with machines, there is usually a chain of events involving more than one aspect of a system (U.S. Coast Guard [USCG], 1989a; American Society for Testing and Materials [ASTM], 1988; Dyer-Smith and De Bievre, 1988; NRC, 1985, 1981). It is a well-known fact among human factors engineering/ergonomics professionals that often what is attributed to “human error” in accident investigations is, in fact, “engineering error.” That is, the engineering design of controls, displays, and/or workspace arrangements, etc., failed to adequately take into account human performance characteristics, capabilities, and limitations (see Miller and Miller, 1990; deCarteret et al., 1980). More in-depth investigations of accidents in other transportation-based industries (e.g., military and civil aviation, automobile/roadway) have shown a high percentage of these “human errors” to really be the result of inadequate human factors engineering design of the system. In fishing, cause and effect can be associated between the fishermen and their vessels, propulsion systems, deck machinery, fishing gear, navigational equipment, the operating environment, training and experience, or a combination of these factors. Human causes of accidents include improper procedures, inexperience, poor judgment, carelessness, and navigational error (ASTM, 1988; Ecker, 1978; Esbensen et al., 1985). Also cited in major casualty reports and marine accident research are stress, fatigue, and boredom, which are critical to vessels at sea for prolonged periods or operating in congested ports and waterways (NRC, 1981; National Transportation Safety Board [NTSB], 1987; see Canadian Coast Guard, 1987). Scope of Human Involvement There are widely differing assessments of the role of fishermen in vessel accidents. Coast Guard data (1982 to 1987) implicating human factors as a primary or contributing cause were as low as 16 percent for search and rescue (SAR) data and 28 percent for main casualty (CASMAIN) data. The CASMAIN percentage was nearly 36 percent when secondary causes were included. These percentages, even with secondary cause data considered, are lower than might be expected. It should be noted that primary cause data identify known causes for only 55 percent of CASMAIN's 1982-1987 casualty records, and secondary cause data reflect known causes for only about 30 percent. Some sources attribute 50 percent of all commercial vessel casualties (Dynamics Research Corporation, 1989; USCG, 1989a), and 70 to 80 percent of all marine accidents (USCG, 1989a; NRC, 1981, 1976) to human causes. For over 20 years, the American Hull Insurance Syndicate (AHIS) has consistently documented human failure as the predominant cause of casualties to the large
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FISHING VESSEL SAFETY: Blueprint for a National Program commercial vessels it insures (AHIS, 1964-1986). The committee believes the CASMAIN data for fishing vessels do not reflect the true impact of human factors (see Piche, 1985), and that the 50 percent estimate is more realistic, with allowances for variation by types of incidents. There are several reasons to support the belief that human causes have a higher impact than indicated by the data. First, injuries that do not involve vessel casualties or incapacitation often go unreported, because of reluctance of individuals to risk liability or jeopardize their insurability. The data are also limited because, thus far, reporting of occupational safety and health information is not required for most of the fishing industry and is not practiced voluntarily. Coast Guard investigators are trained to carefully examine performance of licensed personnel, but there are no performance standards or license requirements for over 99 percent of the uninspected fishing industry fleet. Finally, people maintain vessels, but there are no mandated material standards for uninspected fishing industry vessels upon which to gauge how well people perform this maintenance. The high incidence of failure of hulls, propulsion systems, machinery, and other equipment recorded in CASMAIN and SAR data suggest that many owners and operators are deficient in maintaining vessels and equipment. Extensive anecdotal information also supports the contention that lack of knowledge or skills, neglect, carelessness, and inattention affect maintenance. Geographic Distribution of Personnel Errors Although fishermen commonly consider inshore operations significantly less dangerous than offshore fishing, SAR data indicate otherwise. “Personnel error” as the primary cause of fishing vessel incidents appears disproportionately higher in inshore and inland waters than offshore. This distribution is somewhat higher than for fishing vessel SAR cases generally (see Chapter 3), but the data do not reveal why personnel error is more prevalent inshore. A partial explanation is that in shoal waters, narrow channels, and inlets, knowledge of winds and currents is essential. Navigation and boat-handling skills and the vessel's capabilities are apt to be severely tested. Yet, the method too often employed is trial and error. HUMAN CAUSES OF ACCIDENTS In this study, behavioral factors were categorized to guide discussion of the human dimension with members of the fishing industry. The categories appearing frequently in marine casualty literature and data were: fatigue/stress; improper or inadequate procedures (including inadequate or unsafe loading/stability practices and inadequate watchkeeping);
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FISHING VESSEL SAFETY: Blueprint for a National Program improper maintenance; inattention (including carelessness); inadequate human engineering in design; inadequate physical condition; incapacitation through use of alcohol and drugs; inexperience (including inadequate knowledge and skills and insufficient familiarity with the vessel or fishing activity); judgmental errors (including faulty decision making and risk taking); navigational/operator error (including inexperience and errors in judgment); neglect (including willful negligence); personnel relationships; and working conditions. Few of these terms are precisely defined. In many cases they fail to describe specific behavioral acts. They usually represent subjective value judgments by the reporter or investigator of marine casualties (see NRC, 1981). Nevertheless, they represent common characterizations of the role of people in marine casualties. Although certain categories are more dominant, cause-and-effect relationships are varied and complex. CASMAIN data were analyzed to determine which behavioral factors were indicated as causes of marine casualties in the fishing industry. It was reasoned that certain human causes might appear more frequently and, if so, could be targeted for improvement. This approach proved feasible for collisions, groundings, and material failures, but the data were insufficient for other casualties beyond general characterizations. Generally, the most commonly reported were operator error, judgmental error, improper procedures, and improper maintenance. Human causes recorded in CASMAIN for documented vessels are believed to reflect the human causes of accidents involving state-numbered fishing vessels for similar incidents (based on similarities in SAR data). Grounding Operator error was the principal cause of 323 of 691 groundings attributed to human causes (Figure 5-1). Human factors were the principal cause of 81 percent of all groundings; however, there are significant regional differences—34 percent of the South Atlantic and 25 percent of Alaskan vessel casualties. These rates were disproportionately high, which suggests that fishermen in these areas encounter navigational problems in restricted waters. Collisions Improper procedures, principally failure to keep a proper watch or some
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FISHING VESSEL SAFETY: Blueprint for a National Program other error, were the principal human causes of 80 percent of collisions (Figure 5-2). Human factors were the principal cause of 69 percent of all collisions. Thirty-eight percent occurred in the Gulf Coast and 21 percent in the North Atlantic. Twenty-six percent of all Gulf Coast vessel casualties were collisions, more than double the rate in other regions. The implication is that many Gulf Coast fishermen encounter navigational problems in waters congested by a high number of vessels and offshore platforms. Material Failures Human factors were recorded as the primary cause of less than 10 percent of material failure incidents. Of these, however, over 70 percent were attributed to improper maintenance. This dimension is symptomatic of human behavior but is not a behavioral act per se. The data provide no indication as to why maintenance may have been improper. Collectively, all other human causes account for less than 3 percent of the recorded primary causes of material failures. Falls Overboard/Disappearances Information concerning falls overboard and disappearances is limited, but the numbers verify that they account for the most fatalities; 26 percent of all deaths were attributed to known cases of falling into the water and 35 percent FIGURE 5-1 Human causes of groundings, CASMAIN data, 1982-1987.
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FISHING VESSEL SAFETY: Blueprint for a National Program FIGURE 5-2 Human causes of collisions, CASMAIN data, 1982-1987. to disappearances. Human causes associated with falls and disappearances are inexperience, inattention, judgmental error, neglect, and working conditions. Most fishermen do not routinely wear protective clothing with inherent flotation or other lifesaving devices while working aboard vessels, and these items are often inaccessible or unavailable in an emergency. Failure to use equipment of these types is infrequently recorded in CASMAIN data as the primary cause of a fatality. However, accident investigations and anecdotal information substantiate that nonuse of safety and survival equipment plays a major role in many fishing industry fatalities (see Chapter 6). Injuries in the Workplace So few data are available on injuries that the full scope of their frequency, cause, and severity is unknown, although their numbers are substantial (see Nixon and Fairfield, 1986; Alaska Department of Labor, 1988). CASMAIN data attribute about 39 percent of injuries not related to vessel casualties to human factors—the majority of them unsafe practices or movement about the vessel (see Table E-5, Appendix E). LITERATURE AND RESEARCH Literature addressing human factors in the fishing industry is scarce (see Dynamics Research Corporation, 1989; Esbensen et al., 1985; NRC, 1981,
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FISHING VESSEL SAFETY: Blueprint for a National Program 1976). There has been no behavioral analysis of the maritime sector that breaks down operational problems into component parts for which human factors literature is available and then reassembles a composite view (see NRC, 1981). However, principles of human behavior related to safety have been published for consideration in the design of marine systems, equipment, and facilities (ASTM, 1988). There is no indication that ASTM human engineering design standards have been applied to fishing industry vessels. The work of sociologists and anthropologists forms the largest body of literature about fishermen and their environment. Background papers on social organization and culture were prepared for this study (Gale, 1990; Maiolo, 1990), and a literature review was conducted (fishermen are characterized in Chapter 2). The other principal sources were NTSB accident reports and analyses (see NTSB, 1987) and preliminary results of Coast Guard-sponsored human factors research (see Dynamics Research Corporation, 1989; USCG, 1989a). This information was viewed in the context of operating conditions, platforms, and working conditions found in the fishing industry. General Human Factors Research Despite the paucity of research specific to the fishing industry, research on general human factors—such as stress in the workplace —may apply. Stress is of particular interest. It is a psychological or physical reaction to environmental factors such as noise, vibration, heat or cold, anxiety about achieving goals, drug use, interruption or disruption of sleep, and job performance (Hockey, 1986). For example, fatigue resulting from disruption or deprivation of sleep can lessen vigilance for certain tasks (Hockey, 1986). The usual effect of on-the-job stress is diminished performance, but severe stress may also result in health problems and physiological changes (Steiner, 1987). Since fatigue is known to be a cause in some marine accidents, its causal relationship to fishing vessel safety is of interest. Fishermen routinely work 24-96 hours or more with little or no sleep (see Appendix H, Shafer, 1990a,b; Thompson, 1990; Steiner, 1987). CASMAIN data for marine casualties record fatigue as the primary cause in under 2 percent of human-related collisions and under 4 percent of groundings. Fatigue was not recorded as the primary cause in other categories that show the nature of incidents. The role of fatigue as a secondary cause is poorly understood in the context of commercial fishing, but is thought to be more important than indicated by the data. INDUSTRY ISSUES Expert accounts were contributed to this study concerning the inherent safety-related operational hazards and practical safety-improvement techniques in crab, troll, shrimp, and longline fishing. (The narrative on longline fishing
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FISHING VESSEL SAFETY: Blueprint for a National Program is included in Appendix H.) These materials show the complex interaction of human factors and safety during fishing vessel transits and operations. The vessel captains who contributed accounts have incorporated safety into their operating procedures; thus, the material tends to reflect the upper end of the safety scale. Onboard Conditions The following conditions have an impact on human-factor-related safety problems on fishing vessels: employment without proof of professional competence; employment without screening of physical condition; operation of vessels without certification of professional competency, area knowledge, or familiarity with the vessel, equipment, or fishing gear; nature of employer/employee relationships (i.e., share partnership) resulting in lack of clear accountability for occupational safety and health aboard a fishing vessel; inadequate engineering of human factors and occupational safety in the design of machinery, fishing gear, and other equipment; general absence of systematic measures or programs to provide a safe workplace; continuous exposure to high risk during transit and while fishing; long, unregulated hours, often under severe conditions; and economic conditions that affect operational decisions and the level of risk exposure. These considerations vary greatly by vessel, operator, owner, fisherman, fishery, and region (see Chapter 2 and Chapter 4). Adding to the lack of homogeneity is the population-at-risk factor, discussed in Chapter 2 and Chapter 3. U.S. Fishermen's Perspectives The perspectives provided in the regional assessments by leading professional fishermen and industry, management, and government leaders strongly implicated human factors as significant contributors to accidents. Different perspectives between fishermen and shoreside support personnel tended to vary in terms of degree rather than substance. Professional fishermen and other members of the industry implicated inexperience, inattention, and fatigue as the most likely contributors to safety problems. Operational procedures and navigational error were also indicated, but not to the same extent. Inadequate maintenance and loading conditions were also identified as major safety problems affected by human factors. While cause and effect cannot be determined with certainty, the most likely human factors in maintenance and loading are professional
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FISHING VESSEL SAFETY: Blueprint for a National Program competence (e.g., skills, knowledge, and experience), inattention, neglect, and faulty decision making. Fishermen nationwide have made clear their distrust of existing licensing programs. Yet, many have indicated willingness to participate in a licensing program that results in the selection of qualified and skilled personnel over those less qualified or skilled but more adept at taking written examinations. They are concerned that license preparation regimes can “program” individuals to pass license examinations by exclusively teaching examination questions and answers (published by the Coast Guard) without developing or corroborating acquisition of the basic skills and practical knowledge needed to operate effectively and safely. A similar theme for improving safety—emphasizing skill development over validating knowledge—was expressed by the majority of marine educators who responded to the committee's marine education questionnaire. Members of the fishing industry generally urged that all safety-improvement strategies allow flexibility for local solutions, perhaps within a national or regional framework. Opportunities for local leadership in determining needs, developing and implementing practical strategies, setting realistic time frames, and considering economic conditions were not only urged, but indicated as essential to convincing fishermen that improvements would be in their best interest. These views are important, considering the lack of cohesive industry leadership and the findings of human factors research, which indicate limited utility in correlating personality traits and behavior factors with predicting injuries. Influencing behavioral change is most difficult for the groups at highest risk (NRC, 1985). Canadian Fishing Vessel Safety Initiatives The Canadian commercial fishing industry is similar to northern U.S. fisheries (gear types, stocks exploited, and environmental conditions). Safety problems examined by the Canadian government and fishing industry led them to recognize that safety awareness, basic professional knowledge, and skills were insufficient. Canadian investigations determined that existing wearable protective clothing was not well-suited to fishermen and was a factor in their decision to work on deck without flotation devices (see Chapter 6). The Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) updated training standards for marine emergencies in 1988, conducted a safety awareness program communicating risks to fishermen in selected locations, and published a new fishermen 's safety handbook incorporating voluntary self-inspection checklists and distributed it with annual fishermen's licenses. In addition, safety regulations have been proposed to require vessels under 150 gross tons to carry thermal decksuits specially developed for the fishing industry, and life rafts will be required regardless of vessel size or location after March 1991. A prototype life raft intended specifically for fishing vessels is being developed jointly by the CCG
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FISHING VESSEL SAFETY: Blueprint for a National Program and industry. Existing inspection requirements are also scheduled for revision. (Canadian safety activities are reviewed in Appendix C.) STRATEGIES FOR ADDRESSING HUMAN FACTORS General Strategies and Human Behavior Traditional resistance to past voluntary safety initiatives led the committee to consult injury-prevention research to gain insights on behavioral factors that might motivate safety performance and accountability. The research sets out three basic methods that may apply (NRC, 1985): Persuade those at risk to voluntarily alter their behavior for increased self-protection. The Coast Guard's voluntary fishing vessel technical guidelines are an example (see USCG, 1986b). Require behavior change by law or administrative rule. Existing examples are requirements to carry personal flotation devices (PFDs), and proposed new equipment requirements (see Federal Register, 1990). Provide automatic protection through products or the work environment to mitigate the effects of human behavior. Self-activating emergency position-indicating radio beacons (EPIRBs), automatic water level alarms, automatic bilge pumps, and self-activating life rafts are examples found on some fishing vessels. The research indicates that persuasion is the least effective, requiring behavioral changes has more of an effect, and providing automatic protection has the most effect. The fundamental reason is that members of high-risk groups (which include fishermen) “tend to be the hardest to influence with approaches that involve either voluntary or mandated changes in individual behavior” (NRC, 1985). The unabated incidence of fatalities, injuries, and vessel casualties in the fishing industry suggests that fishermen most at risk have not been persuaded to voluntarily alter their behavior in the interests of self-protection. Many fishermen incorporate safety as a matter of good business. Unfortunately, many others appear not to. Therefore, the next step is to intervene to force behavioral change and require equipment designed to provide automatic protection. The following considerations are also indicated (NRC, 1985): The effectiveness of safety strategies varies inversely with the extra cost and effort required to alter behavior. Laws and regulations intended to cause behavioral changes in individuals tend to be least effective among those exposed to the highest risk of injury.
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FISHING VESSEL SAFETY: Blueprint for a National Program By itself, education has not proved to be an adequate preventative measure. These findings have significant implications regarding the utility and implementation of specific alternatives for the fishing industry. Because safety problems usually occur aboard vessels operating in isolation, away from even casual observation by law enforcement officials, any compliance activity requiring frequent on-scene observation or direct contact by external parties—such as the Coast Guard or the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)—would be costly and its effectiveness difficult to determine (Blewett et al., 1985; Sutinen and Hennessey, 1986; see Sutinen et al., 1989a,b, for a detailed examination of fishermen's compliance behavior in relation to federally regulated fisheries). Regarding education, specialized training of involved, interested individuals can substantially contribute to beneficial behavioral changes (McDowell Group, 1990; see Boehmer, 1989). The predominant theme expressed during this study and in the literature is improving basic nautical knowledge and skills. However, education has to be combined with translating it into effective usage. The common way to motivate effective use of knowledge and skills is a license or certificate that attests to competency and is subject to review, suspension, or revocation. If compliance activities are expanded, they may come at the price of local leadership support, which is crucial to success (NRC, 1985; Pizzo and Jaeger, 1974). Many owners and owner/operators are already highly agitated over regulatory impositions. For example: changes to EPIRB regulations requiring high-cost replacement equipment; prospective long-term quota reductions in certain fisheries, such as king and Spanish mackerel (Stimpson, 1990); numerous law enforcement boardings by Coast Guard personnel on the fishing grounds (Sutinen et al., 1989a,b); and significant changes in harvesting practices, such as use of turtle excluder devices (TEDs) in shrimp nets (NRC, 1990; Williams, 1990; Cooper, 1989). To avoid alienating local support, the preferred approach is to implement methods that motivate compliance rather than regulate it. Combining dockside inspection for mandatory requirements with advisory services to assist planning of vessel maintenance is one possible approach (Piche, 1985; USCG, 1971). Specific Strategies and Alternatives Major personnel-related problems uncovered during this study include the following:
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FISHING VESSEL SAFETY: Blueprint for a National Program Perceptions of risk are inadequate, and awareness of safety procedures is limited, leading to risk taking, unsafe vessel operations, and unsafe work practices. There are weaknesses in basic nautical knowledge, practical skills in seamanship and maintenance, and motivation needed to safely operate and maintain fishing vessels, equipment, gear, and survival systems. There are weaknesses in knowledge and practical skills in basic navigation, vessel operating characteristics, and loading. There are weaknesses in knowledge, practical skills, and motivation in the use of workplace safety practices and safety and survival equipment. There are no formal professional qualification standards or requirements from entry level through senior positions for fishermen and most individuals in charge. These problems could be corrected by building safety awareness and improving professional competency among the population at risk and supporting personnel. Elements of this approach could include communication programs; competency standards necessary to properly design, build, maintain, and operate fishing vessels; measures to encourage or compel acquisition of knowledge and skills needed to perform to standards; procedures for working on deck; emergency preparedness; measures to motivate safety accountability; and vessel manning and watchkeeping criteria. Problems identified apply to operators of all uninspected fishing industry vessels. The committee found no evidence to suggest that fishermen aboard state-numbered vessels have a significantly better or worse safety record than their counterparts aboard small, federally documented vessels of similar hull design and gear configurations in similar service. Building Safety Awareness The committee found a general lack of enthusiasm for safety programs in the fishing industry. In allocating expenditures, items directly related to harvesting, transporting, and processing fish ordinarily take precedence. Survival equipment is usually a lower priority than vessels, gear, and equipment such as depth finders and loran. This is partly driven by costs, but individual perceptions of risk are also pivotal to motivating attention to safety (McCay et al., 1989; CCG, 1987; Dewees and Hawkes, 1988; Gray, 1987a; Levine and McCay, 1987). Marine educators find widely varying perceptions about risks. Fishermen who voluntarily participate in safety training frequently were motivated by personal experiences or perception. Effectively communicating risks to fishermen is a central theme in other fishing industry safety studies (CCG, 1987; Pizzo and Jaeger, 1974), and increasing safety awareness needs to be a fundamental objective of a comprehensive strategy (McDowell Group, 1990).
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FISHING VESSEL SAFETY: Blueprint for a National Program Continuing the sequential numbering of alternatives in preceding chapters, the following safety-improvement alternatives are identified. Alternative 14: Establish Risk Communication/Safety Awareness Programs The fishing industry at large has a high-risk population, which is hard to influence with regard to changing human behavior. Therefore, the degree to which safety problems and solutions can be effectively communicated is crucial in establishing a cooperative environment to successfully implement other solutions. Failure to establish good faith and credibility leads to distrust and acrimony (NRC, 1989b), which are evident in the industry relative to federal regulation. Risk communication could be employed to exchange safety information and opinions among affected individuals, groups, and institutions (see NRC, 1989b). This interactive process has already been started by congressional mandate through formation of the Commercial Fishing Industry Vessel Advisory Committee (CFIVAC) and its involvement in advising the Coast Guard on rulemaking. At the regional and port levels, this concept could be used to exchange information about hazards, experiences in dealing with them, and the associated economic impacts. It could also promote cooperation and build centralized leadership within the fishing industry to develop effective self-regulation. This would minimize further government intervention and limit the government's role to oversight and support. But to have maximum effect, risk communication must reach the population at risk—the fishermen. This alternative expands existing practices, promotes mutual cooperation, and is relatively inexpensive. Alternative 15: Publish and Distribute Safety Publications A systematic program for publishing timely technical safety information to the industry could be established, building on existing, but mostly uncoordinated, efforts in this area. Communication options could include trade journals, government publications, and resource documents such as safety manuals for use in training programs. This could be a shared responsibility of industry, marine educators, and government agencies. Such information is already published within the industry through many local, regional, and national forums. Some Coast Guard districts published special Notices to Mariners or digests in the past as safety guides for fishermen (see USCG, 1986c). These special publications appear to have been discontinued when regional fishing vessel safety manuals and voluntary safety guidelines were developed. Manuals cannot report day-to-day events, however. Currently, there is no periodical distributed to the fishing industry that the government uses as
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FISHING VESSEL SAFETY: Blueprint for a National Program a forum to keep fishermen apprised of a broad range of safety issues. The role of trade journals and periodicals could be expanded in this area. Relevant resource documents are among the infrastructural needs for implementation of safety alternatives. The committee's literature search uncovered a wide variety of written materials relevant to fishing vessel safety and resources for training and educational programs. However, resource documents have not been researched and cataloged for the benefit of training organizations and policy analysts. Potential exists for meaningful research in this area. Improving Professional Competency A prevalent theme of this study is that fishermen, even though skilled at catching fish, often lack the formal nautical skills and knowledge for safe operations. For example, many fishermen can operate electronic navigation equipment, but may not be fully proficient in basic chart navigation or principles of seamanship (see Gray, 1987c). The anecdotal information pointed to inattention or neglect of basics leading to accidents, such as failure to properly secure lazarette hatches leading to flooding, failure to wear PFDs while working on deck, and general unfamiliarity with survival equipment (see Chapter 6). Optimum knowledge and skill levels to overcome these deficiencies have not been analyzed because of inadequate data, but knowledge and skills required to operate aboard vessels in other commercial maritime sectors could be adapted to the fishing industry. The knowledge and skills required to pass Coast Guard examinations and obtain licenses to operate uninspected towing vessels, uninspected passenger vessels for hire carrying fewer than six passengers, and uninspected fishing vessels over 200 gross tons have been accepted within the maritime community as legitimate. The areas of knowledge associated with these licenses are generally consistent with those used by other maritime nations and International Maritime Organization (IMO) training recommendations for fishing industry vessels (see Appendix C). Appropriate knowledge and skill levels (see box)—adjusted for operating environments by region, size or type of vessel, or numbers of personnel aboard—could reduce casualties in which inexperience, improper or inadequate operational procedures, judgmental errors, and navigational errors are contributing factors. Standardized procedures for vessel operations, deck work, and emergency drills could also increase competency. Alternative 16: Require Emergency Preparedness Measures This alternative would provide the means for onboard emergency preparedness education. Most fishermen involved in major vessel casualties are not prepared to effectively respond to emergency conditions. In other cases, the alarms and equipment designed to correct problems either were not available, did not work, failed to perform correctly, or were incorrectly used.
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FISHING VESSEL SAFETY: Blueprint for a National Program KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS TYPICALLY REQUIRED OF LICENSED OPERATORS OF U.S. UNINSPECTED COMMERCIAL VESSELS Navigation and position determination Seamanship Watchkeeping Radar equipment1,2 Compass—magnetic and gyro Meteorology and oceanography Ship maneuvering and handling Ship stability, construction, and damage control1 Ship power plants (small-engine operation and maintenance)3 Cargo handling and stowage1,4,5 Fire prevention and fire fighting Emergency procedures Medical care (first aid) National maritime law Licensing and certification of seamen Shipboard management and training Ship's business Communications Lifesaving Search and rescue6,7 1 No requirement for operator, uninspected passenger vessels. 2 Required for ocean routes only. 3 No requirement for operator, uninspected towing vessels, oceans (domestic trade)/near coastal. 4 Required for barge operations. 5 No requirement for master or mate of uninspected fishing industry vessels, oceans/near coastal. 6 No requirement. 7 Recommended for fishing vessels by International Maritime Organization. Basic knowledge and skills for responding to emergencies can be developed through education and training, and damage control and lifesaving equipment can be provided, maintained, and certified. But preparation is not a static condition. In an emergency, people are usually forced to act instinctively. Thus, on-site reviews of use and location of emergency equipment and frequent drills
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FISHING VESSEL SAFETY: Blueprint for a National Program would enhance preparedness (McDowell Group, 1990; see Alaska Fisherman 's Journal, 1989a). A side benefit is concurrent examination to identify deteriorating or defective emergency equipment. The Coast Guard has proposed a regulation that would require safety orientation, instructions, and emergency drills for fishing vessels, affixing responsibility for compliance on the master or the individual in charge. Alternative 17: Develop and Promulgate Standard Operating Procedures Every work effort, regardless of how small, develops operating procedures and design practice. They may be: fixed by custom, such as turning the steering wheel clockwise for right rudder; standardized by agreement, such as the direction valves are turned for opening and closing; or mandated by rules or regulations, such as nautical rules of the road. Typically, onboard procedures vary as the result of vessel design and construction, installed equipment, deck layouts, fishing gear, and crew composition. Some basic procedures could apply universally, such as the correct way to manually lift heavy loads, wear protective clothing, or stand watches. Procedures or guidelines covering operations and workplace safety could be developed from existing resource materials and published. Mandated use of such guidance could be difficult to enforce on isolated fishing grounds; therefore, strong local and regional industry leadership is a more logical way to promote this alternative, or assistance could be offered to develop guidelines, such as that previously provided by the Coast Guard for vessel safety and Sea Grant for safety training. Alternative 18: Develop Competency Standards This alternative envisions formally establishing competency standards for fishermen, operators, and masters of fishing vessels. Such standards should be robust enough to accommodate regional and fishery differences, yet contain the essential requirements to improve safety while minimizing the burden of implementation on the industry and Coast Guard. Standards are the prerequisite for practical safety training for vessel personnel and any “competency” procedures. Competency standards for each level could include: for fishermen—rules of the road, safety and survival, seamanship, correctable vision, normal color vision, basic first aid, and basic fire fighting; for operators—advanced first aid—including CPR—navigation, and 1 year's experience; and
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FISHING VESSEL SAFETY: Blueprint for a National Program for masters—advanced navigation, stability, advanced fire fighting, advanced seamanship, fishing vessel regulations, and weather forecasting. Alternative 19: Promote Education and Training Voluntary education and training could provide the means to acquire the knowledge and skills appropriate for competent fishermen, operators, and masters. This alternative suggests that aggressive marketing of education and training programs would provide the incentive for commercial fishing personnel to capitalize on such opportunities to increase their knowledge and skills. No more than 10 percent of active fishermen are believed to have received such training; however, many fishermen are awaiting regulatory action by the Coast Guard concerning knowledge and skill levels prior to seeking training. Such actions, as presently contemplated by the Coast Guard, may reverse low demand experienced in current training capacity. This alternative would need knowledge and skill standards and education and training regimes for determining training effectiveness. Further infrastructure development needed includes better collection and organization of vessel and personnel casualty data to establish a baseline by which to evaluate training effectiveness within the fishing industry, analyses on the effectiveness of different types of training (i.e., hands-on versus lecture versus videotapes), analysis of the effectiveness of different testing methodologies, curricula certification, instructor qualifications, participant certification, and adequate funding from present and alternative sources. Analysis of the effects of education and training on operator competency in other high-risk industries, such as agriculture and trucking, might provide valuable insight for improving skill development programs for fishermen. Alternative 20: Require Education and Training with Certification This alternative would require education and training of all fishermen that would lead to professional certification or credentials. A certificate or credential implies a prescribed instructional program, certified instructors, and renewal and revocation processes. The training program could be developed jointly by industry, the training sector, and Coast Guard representatives and based on the competence or skills required for work in the industry. Training could be practical and hands-on in nature to foster development of both skills and knowledge, and consider varying levels of competency based on vessel size and professional responsibility (crewman, operators). Potential guidelines have been put forth by the CFIVAC. To ensure uniformity and quality, a basic standardized program would allow for regional considerations. Certification for instructors could also be implemented. Both the program and instructor certification could be monitored
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FISHING VESSEL SAFETY: Blueprint for a National Program and evaluated by a national oversight group, such as the Coast Guard or Maritime Administration (MARAD). Consideration of past service and safety training (a grandfather clause) could be worked into any training scheme. Curricula needs indicated by accident investigations, CASMAIN data, and other materials include courses in personal safety, navigation, fire fighting, first aid, and safety equipment procedures. Stable and continuing funding would be needed for development and initial implementation until programs could be financed by program revenues from the industry. Alternative 21: Require Licensing In this alternative, only individuals who hold a license would be authorized to occupy higher positions of responsibility and authority aboard a commercial fishing vessel. Indeed, the CFIVSA required the Coast Guard to provide Congress with a plan to license operators of documented fishing industry vessels. Marine licensing is a way to fix responsibility by limiting vessel operation to those who meet certain criteria. Licensing attests that established criteria have been met. In current marine licensing practices, this usually involves some form of written or oral examination after prerequisites (e.g., first aid training) have been satisfied through means such as required training and practical demonstrations. The concept is that licensed personnel would have the knowledge and incentive through improved accountability for their actions to be safer operators than nonlicensed personnel and would be involved in fewer marine casualties or incidents. This concept appears valid based on general safety trends, but has not been conclusively demonstrated through statistically valid analysis of marine casualty data or benefit-cost analysis. The main difference between this alternative and requiring professional education and training with certification (alternative 20) is the means of meeting the criteria and administering the licensing program. In this alternative, satisfactory completion of standardized, formal examinations could be required before the licensing authority (Coast Guard) would issue a license. This alternative would, in effect, expand the Coast Guard's licensing program to include operators of uninspected commercial fishing vessels under 200 gross tons. The applicant could be required to satisfy various prerequisites before sitting for the exam. Prerequisites might include, for example, documented experience or sea time, or satisfactory completion of approved training courses on topics such as first aid, CPR, radar, and seamanship. Mandatory prerequisite education and training would provide consistency of knowledge among vessel operators. Traditionally, examinations have been used to attest to an individual 's knowledge. An option exists that could reduce the need for additional licensing infrastructure and be more palatable to fishermen while still providing a means of
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FISHING VESSEL SAFETY: Blueprint for a National Program attesting to acquisition of practical skills and knowledge. The licensing authority could accept certificates issued upon satisfactory completion of prerequisites from accredited sources in lieu of customary examinations. The committee distinguishes between federally documented and state-numbered vessels, but finds no reason to treat operators of state-numbered fishing vessels differently from those of documented vessels with regard to basic knowledge and skills. However, the emphasis would vary by the nature of fishing activity, associated safety records, and costs versus expected benefits. For example, further examination of small-scale fishing operations on sheltered waters is needed to determine whether licensing of fishermen would have practical utility at this level, or whether requirements that might be developed at the state level for recreational boaters would suffice. There is a significant policy issue concerning responsibility for licensing administration. Traditionally, the Coast Guard has exercised exclusive authority for licensing operators of commercial vessels operating on federal waters. But, as discussed in alternative 12, the fishing industry is a hybrid situation. Even fishermen aboard federally documented fishing vessels are required to obtain state licenses or permits for state-controlled fisheries. Conceptually, licensing of operators of state-numbered vessels could be similar to motor vehicle licensing, perhaps drawing on that infrastructure. Licensing programs could be implemented by expanding either the existing Coast Guard or state licensing infrastructure. If licensing were chosen and state licensing adopted, implementation issues include standardization of minimum requirements and license reciprocity. Alternatively, federal licensing requirements could be expanded to all commercial fishing vessels to establish exclusive operator licensing jurisdiction with the Coast Guard. By combining professional registration (alternative 3) and grandfathering as the initial basis for issuing licenses, a licensing program could be implemented in the near term to improve accountability while the training infrastructure is being developed. License renewal could be contingent upon subsequent completion of training and examination requirements. Additional implementation issues include infrastructure requirements; funding, including cost-sharing with the states; license categories, based on position, vessel type, vessel size, number of personnel, etc.; competency standards; physical condition (e.g., correctable vision, normal color vision); and criteria for revoking, suspending, and renewing licenses. Manning and Watchkeeping Fatigue can degrade performance of navigational responsibilities and deck work. Proper watchkeeping during vessel operation, in addition to knowledge and skills, also demands alertness. Fatigue can slow reaction times, cause people to fall asleep while on wheel watch, and lessen the attentiveness needed
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FISHING VESSEL SAFETY: Blueprint for a National Program to perform safely around machinery and gear. In addition to building safety awareness about the dangers of fatigue, it might be possible to change manning practices to provide checks and balances, such as maintaining two crewmen on wheel watch on rigorous trips (R. Jacobson, personal communication, 1990). Alternative 22: Establish Vessel Manning and Watchkeeping Criteria Minimum manning standards and watchkeeping requirements for navigation are published in federal law and regulations for most uninspected commercial vessels, including uninspected fishing vessels over 200 gross tons (46 U.S.C.A. Chapter 81). This alternative expands existing requirements to include uninspected fishing vessels of all sizes. Variations on this theme are being considered by the Coast Guard as part of the congressional mandate to submit a licensing plan to Congress for documented vessels. The evidence suggests that safety problems that might lead to manning and watchkeeping requirements for documented fishing vessels apply equally to state-numbered vessels, with flexibility for degree of emphasis as discussed in alternative 21. SUMMARY Human failure in some form contributes to most fishing vessel casualties, fatalities, and injuries. If not the direct cause, human factors are an element in accidents and complicate implementation of safety improvement alternatives. Human factors frequently associated with marine casualties are inexperience, inattention, fatigue, judgmental errors, and navigational errors. Safety can be addressed through voluntary or mandatory programs or systems designed around the human element. Safety-improvement options (continued from preceding chapters) include these alternatives: establish risk communication/safety awareness programs, publish and distribute safety publications, require emergency preparedness measures, develop and promulgate standard operating procedures, develop competency standards, promote education and training, require education and training with certification, require licensing, and establish vessel manning and watchkeeping criteria.
Representative terms from entire chapter: