The Northeastern Winch Safety Research Program is a qualitative survey of current practice and engineered safety equipment that exist on Commercial Otter Trawl fishing vessels in three high capacity fishing ports in the Northeast (New Bedford MA, Gloucester MA and Point Judith RI). Understanding current safety measures and equipment that fishermen employ will better help us through a collaborative effort with fishermen find new and innovative ways to improve safety in an industry that faces many financial and safety challenges. This project is funded by NIOSH and NEC through the AFF program.

Winches are responsible for a significant number (16%) of the onboard fatal injuries associated with gear entanglements (MMWR 2010).

A large national study by NIOSH (Alaska Pacific Regional Office) showed deck winch entanglements responsible for 12 deaths from 2000-2009 with five of those deaths occurring from New Jersey to Maine, four in the Gulf of Mexico states and Florida and two in Alaska (Lincoln and Lucas, 2010).