Introduction The Malaysian fishing industry has experienced tremendous growth in recent years due to increase in demand as well as research and development. In many countries, the fishing industry is considered as one of the highest risk occupational group. Therefore, there is a need to address the occupational health issues in local fisheries practice. The work-related diseases, health status and awareness on occupational health have been reviewed in relation to the local fishing industry.
Methods A comprehensive systematic search was conducted on the scientific literature, national legislations and guidelines related to the work-related diseases and health status of workers in local fishing industry. Focus group discussions with key stakeholders were conducted to obtain information about awareness and prevention of work-related diseases in the group of workers.
Results The health problems among workers in the tropical fisheries have been attributed mainly to musculoskeletal disorders, exposures to heat, chemicals, and long hours of work, stress and intravenous drug use. There are national legislations that regulate the occupational health and safety aspect of the fishing industry. However, the provided guidelines may not be sufficient to address specific occupational health issues among these workers. The stakeholders highlighted low awareness and low level of knowledge of occupational health in the sector. Barriers to the issues included low priority, cost of training, management support and safety culture.
Discussion The findings of this review and focus group discussions offer some important insights into the importance of developing an awareness programme for workers in fishing industry. Prevention of work-related diseases and other diseases should be a high priority to protect these workers.
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