Commercial Fishing


Occupational Ergonomics and Biomechanics Laboratory

Commercial fishing is the most hazardous occupation in the United States. While previous studies have mainly focused on fatal injury prevention, our research focuses on nonfatal injuries, especially musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) particularly in the upper extremities and low back.


Improving vessel equipment: evaluating fishermen-led safety design ideas

Funded by: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

This NIOSH-funded research will quantify the impact of crab pot handling on biomechanical risk and postural balance (fall risk) and evaluate the efficacy of a fishermen-led engineering control in reducing physical risk factors and associated injuries.

Using these findings, we will provide scientific evidence on the effectiveness of the fishermen-led engineering control (i.e. banger bar) in reducing the physical risk factors and fall risks during handling crab pots during crab harvesting; thus improve commercial fishermen’s occupational health and safety.

If you are interested in other commercial fishing safety and health projects at Oregon State University, please visit OSU's Commercial Fishing Safety website

Preliminary results from the sensor feasibility study: A letter to commercial crab fishermen.



Preliminary results from the laboratory study:

Use a Bang Bar for Crew Safety and Good Crab

Many fishing vessels in the Pacific Northwest have installed bang bars (also known as banger bars) to assist crew while they empty Dungeness crab pots into the dump box. Researchers at OSU tested the height and design of bang bar for deckhand safety. Here are the results.

How Does a Bang Bar Help Deckhands?

Various situations were tested at the lab: no bar, straight bars at varying heights, and a triangle bar.

Read more

Bang or not?
and how best to bang?

As vessel owners think about what is best for their situation, it is important to know how the bang bar design could maximize benefits to crew safety and health.

Read more

Participate in research studies

Evaluating fishermen-led safety designs in the Dungeness Crab Fleet

Help us characterize physical risk factors associated with Dungeness crab harvesting tasks and evaluate the efficacy of a fishermen-led ergonomic intervention in reducing the physical risk factors.

Three ways to participate

  1. Interview and measurement
  2. Wearable sensor feasibility study
  3. Laboratory-based study

Relevant publications

Kim JH, Vaughan A, Kincl L. Characterization of musculoskeletal injury risk in Dungeness crab fishing. J Agromedicine. 2022. doi:10.1080/1059924X.2022.2068715.