TitleSafety and Health Programs in Alaska's Seafood Processing Industry: Interviews with Safety and Health Managers.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsSyron, LN, Bovbjerg, VE, Mendez-Luck, CA, Kincl, L
JournalJ Agromedicine
Date Published07/2019

Background: The seafood processing industry is critical to Alaska's economy and hazardous to workers; however, limited research has addressed workers' safety and health. Safety and health program management is a decisive factor in preventing fatalities, injuries, and illnesses. We interviewed managers to gain their views on their safety and health programs.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 14 upper-level managers who oversaw programs for Alaskan worksites. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed. Qualitative content analysis techniques, including inductive coding, were utilized to explore participants' experiences and views regarding: management and workers' roles; hazard control systems; safety and health training; regulatory and economic factors; and programs' challenges and successes.

Results: The 14 participants represented 13 companies that operated 32 onshore plants and 30 vessels with processing capabilities. Participants reported managing programs for an estimated 68% of the Alaskan seafood processing industry's workforce. Based on participants' responses, we identified five factors that could be modified to improve safety and health industry-wide: manager training and knowledge sharing; worker training; organizational aspects related to safety culture; application of ergonomic principles; and work hours. Participants reported that fully engaging workers in programs was beneficial.

Conclusions: Industry members should more widely share their best practices for protecting workers' safety and health. Occupational safety and health practitioners and researchers should support the development and evaluation of (a) training for non/limited-English-speaking-workers, (b) ergonomic interventions, and (c) fatigue risk management systems. Future research should engage worksite managers and workers to characterize their safety and health experiences and needs.

Alternate JournalJ Agromedicine
PubMed ID31293222