Fish Radio
March 5, 2013

Workshop helps take the pain out of fishing

This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Giving your body a break from the pains of fishing. I’ll tell you more after this —

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Making some easy changes to a boat’s deck lay out, or simply modifying knives and scrapers can reduce the strains and sprains of fishing.  That’s  using the science of ergonomics.

Cut: Ergonomics is the science of adapting your workplace, your tools, equipment and work methods to be more efficient and comfortable and error free by humans. It’s basically how a human body interacts with their work environment. 1

Jerry Dzugan is director of Sitka-based AMSEA, the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association.  AMSEA is using grant money to design an ergonomics  program that fits the work to the user instead of forcing the user to fit the work. The goal is to reduce the muscular and skeletal disorders that are pervasive in the fishing jobs.

Cut: When I used to fish and everyone I know who fishes if I ask them if their back hurts, they can all tell me about their   carpal tunnel, their tendonitis, their shoulder problems or their lower back problems. 4

 Dzugan says data from the Fishermen’s Fund show that 40% of all claims are strains and sprains, such as carpal tunnel.  The AMSEA program will show how those injuries happen, proper lifting and moving techniques and how simple stretching exercises before going out on deck can  minimize the  impact of repetitive motions and hard work.  It also will show how to make  deck space more ergonomically friendly and how modifying tools of the trade can help.

 Cut: How having a tool that fits your hand instead of making your hand fit the tool. Things like knives with angles so you can keep your wrist in a neutral position, fish scrapers that have the bend in the scraper not in your wrist. All those things make a big difference on tendonitis and carpal tunnel. 6

Dzugan says the fishing ergonomics program will be tacked on to drill classes and safety training by AMSEA instructors. They also will work with local physical therapists to include the techniques.  Catch the ergonomics class next month at ComFish.

 Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods.  Ocean Beauty has contributed over 10 million meals to the U.S. Food Bank network, and is committed to ending hunger in America.  In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.