Understanding non-industrialized workers' approaches to safety: how do commercial fishermen "stay safe"?
BACKGROUND: Commercial fishing is carried out worldwide, often in non-industrialized forms, and is associated with high rates of fatal and non-fatal occupational injury. PROBLEM: Fishermen who work independently in non-industrialized settings do not have access to union or industry sponsored safety services and must make their own decisions about safety practices. Learning the meaning of safety for them and the safety measures they employ is important before developing interventions. METHODS: Two fieldworkers conducted in-depth ethnographic interviews with 31 commercial fishermen in North Carolina. Interviews and fieldnotes were analyzed using QSR N5. RESULTS: Fishermen primarily related staying safe to work practices and attitudes. They identified specific safety measures, appropriate gear and boat maintenance, weather decisions, and working cooperatively when ocean fishing. DISCUSSION: The ethnographic research process can produce information about a group's norms of preventive behavior and safety concerns. Knowledge of workers' concepts and practices will inform researchers' inquiries.
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