Shrimp Winch Guards

Research  I Industrial Design  I  Engineering  I  Prototyping 

The U.S. shrimp boat fleet has a problem.  Boats that are decades old aren’t up-to-date on safety standards and many use old mechanical systems that are hard to retrofit. Each is unique and usually has 1 of 5, Mini-Cooper sized, winching systems.  These winches are used to haul in the giant nets for catching shrimp.  Sadly, workers get caught in the lines and then the winch too.  Obviously, this was a grave concern to all involved, including NIOSH.  It may seem like a narrowly focused problem, but market forces don’t always tackle them, so the U.S. government provided the necessary push. 

Tool was hired to understand the variety of boats, the working space surrounding the wenches, worker movements, the challenges of fabrication for the marine environment, and the variety of winches so that we could develop a system of guards to be installed on each boat.  These guards would prevent entrapment of workers and allow for normal operation.  Each guard was designed for optimal user experience and fabrication on a budget that would work for the slim margins that shrimpers operate.

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