Longshoremen and maritime workers have an increased risk for bodily harm while on the job. It is the duty of the company to provide not only a safe work environment but also to ensure that safety measures, such as the buddy system, are in place and are followed. When the system fails, men get hurt.
Here are the top six injuries suffered by maritime workers:
- Spine/ back damage. These are not only caused by heavy lifting but also falls. Seek medical treatment right away after a back injury of any kind.
- Drowning. Slippery surfaces, inadequate life vests, fatigue, lack of training and lack of secure access into and out of a vessel contribute to these deaths.
- Burns. Highly flammable fuel makes longshoremen at increased risk for explosions and fires.
- Lung damage. Toxic chemicals breathed in cause an alarming number of injuries to workers. Spills and hazardous cargo contribute as well.
- Loss of fingers. Ropes, lines heavy, cargo and equipment can crush appendages. Arms and legs have also been lost.
- Traumatic brain injuries. These can be caused by explosions, falls, and being hit by loose cargo or equipment. They can range from a mild concussion to severe mental impairment.
The Company’s Duty
- If the company you work for fails to properly equip your vessel or to maintain strict safety standards and you or another worker is injured then that company can be found negligent according to maritime law.
- An employer is obligated to provide a safe and secure work environment, even though there are certain risks that come with every job on the docks or at sea.
- Employers must give all employees safety training and cannot give tasks to inadequately trained workers.
- In addition, every vessel must contain sufficient life vests or rafts for every worker.
The Jones Act was created to protect injured seamen and their families. Dock workers and longshoremen are protected under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Act (LHWCA). If you were injured while at work on the docks or at sea, speak to a personal injury attorney experienced in Jones Act and maritime cases.