Making sense of fishermen's risk perception

Fabienne Knudsen, Sisse Grøn

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


In this paper we reflect on the possible reasons for the acceptability of risk in sea fishing
and the implications they may have for safety actions and interventions. The data
presented in the paper were collected during three trips at sea on fishing vessels in
connection with a study of slips, trips and falls. The fieldwork offered an in situ insight
into the way fishermen perceive their work and the risks they face, as well as their views of
an outsider.
Through empirical examples derived from our research and other studies, we show that
fishermen’s risk perception can be explained by the need to adopt coping strategies, ie
compromises and resilience in an environment marked by uncertainty and unpredictability.
The difference between lay and expert knowledge is particularly salient in the case of safety
researchers and fishermen. In order to make sense of the fishermen’s risk perception, we
examine not only their working conditions, but also the conditions of our own knowledge
of risk.
The most important lesson to learn from our research and similar studies is that any
improvement in fishermen’s safety must be planned and implemented in partnership with
Original languageEnglish
JournalPolicy and Practice in Health and Safety
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)77-94
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010

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