Due to a variety of television programs, films and books devoted to the perils of commercial fishing and oil production, the American public is gaining a better and better understanding of just how dangerous maritime work tends to be. Tragically, not all offshore accidents result only in maritime injury and property damage. A staggering number of American maritime workers are killed on the job each year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released data that helps to define the scope of this tragedy. The CDC has determined that offshore maritime workers face a risk of being killed on the job that is seven times higher than the national worker fatality average. This makes offshore maritime work the most deadly profession an American can opt to pursue.
Some maritime accidents, like the Deepwater Horizon explosion that rocked the coast of Louisiana in 2010, are highly publicized. Others do not generate as much media attention but are no less tragic. Eleven workers died in the Deepwater Horizon explosion, but 128 total offshore workers were killed on the job between 2003 and 2010 alone.
This risk translates to a rate of 27.1 deaths per 100,000 offshore workers, as compared to the national average of 3.8 deaths per 100,000 workers. Progress is being made in terms of offshore worker safety and accident prevention. However, offshore maritime work remains disproportionately hazardous. As a result, prioritizing the safety of offshore workers remains critical to both the fishing and fuel industries as well as to the United States as a whole.
Source: Huffington Post, “Offshore Worker Fatality Rates Seven Times Higher Than U.S. Average, CDC Study Says,” Apr. 30, 2013