State: Commercial fishing continues to top job-related deaths in Alaska

Posted: Friday, October 27, 2000

UNALASKA (AP) -- Commercial fishing again led the list of workers killed on the job last year in Alaska, the state Division of Public Health says.

Commercial fishermen accounted for 40 percent of the 42 job-related deaths last year, the agency said. Of the 17 commercial-fishing-related deaths, 16 died as a result of drowning or hypothermia, and one was struck by a collapsing boom, officials said.

Alaska's annual job fatality rate has declined significantly from 29.5 per 100,000 workers in 1990 to 13.4 in 1999, but still was triple the national rate of 4.4 deaths per 100,000.

Some progress has been made to reduce occupation-related fatalities in Alaska, officials said. They credited improved safety programs, better training, new technology and greater awareness of workplace hazards for the declines.

Aircraft fatalities followed fishing, with nine deaths. Four workers died from struck-by accidents, including two timber cutters.

Two workers were murdered on the job, a law enforcement officer and a restaurant manager. Four workers died of motor vehicle injuries. Two were crushed and two were electrocuted, state officials said.

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