The cold, wet and often extremely windy environmental conditions fishermen are continually exposed to significantly increase the risk of injuries at work and work-related illnesses. This is added to by the fact that at sea, unhindered reflection of sunlight exposes fishing crews to the risk of potentially permanent damage to both their eyes and skin. Adequate protection against the sun’s UV rays is subsequently of utmost importance.
Potential eye damage
Excessive exposure to UV radiation increases the risk of work induced eye conditions, including growths, cataracts and cancer. Fishing in regions where snow and ice reflect sunlight to an even greater extent may also result in a typically temporary, but extremely painful condition known as ‘Snow Blindness’.
Preventing eye damage
To prevent suffering eye damage at work, fishermen should wear sunglasses that block UV rays (preferably with side protection) and wide-brimmed hats at all times, even on cloudy, hazy days, as the radiation penetrates clouds even when the sun is not visible. Solar retinopathy, a condition involving damage to the retina by solar radiation, is prevented by never looking directly at the sun.
Short-term skin damage
Short-term effects of exposure to UV rays include rashes or freckles and, when exposure is excessive, reddening and pain (sunburn). In severe cases, excessive UV exposure may cause blistering and second degree burns.
Long-term skin damage
Long-term effects of UV radiation exposure include premature ageing of skin and age spots, which are due to pigment changes in the skin. The most dangerous effects of UV light are the changes the radiation induces in sufferers’ skin cells, as these changes may ultimately result in skin cancer.
Preventing skin damage
This kind of damage can be prevented or at least kept at a minimum by keeping much of the body covered and application of high factor sunscreens to exposed areas.
When something does happen and you suffer eye damage, skin damage or other injuries through accidents at work, you may be entitled to work injury compensation. To qualify for industrial injury compensation, your injury must have been sustained within the past three years (or, in case of slow-developing industrial diseases, within three years of the illness being diagnosed) and someone else must have been responsible for your work accident. To find out more about claiming, visit the official website of Accident Advice Helpline or make a free, no-obligation call to one of their advisors.
Date Published: September 30, 2014
Author: Accident Advice