The brave men and women who work offshore help to keep this great nation up and running. This occupation does not come without risk and reward. Thankfully, offshore workers who experience work-related injuries are covered by either The Jones Act or The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA).
Because workers’ compensation laws do not apply to workers on navigable waters, the LHWCA is meant to cover longshore workers. The Jones Act works separately from LHWCA and was created for a specific purpose. Let’s take a closer look at both.
LHWCA versus The Jones Act
The determining factor between the two is how the maritime employee is categorized and their connection to the vessel. According to the Department of Labor, the LHWCA excludes coverage of “master or member of a crew of any vessel,” in other words, seaman. These crewmembers are covered under The Jones Act. To be considered a seaman under The Jones Act, it is not required that the employee is involved in navigating the ship. However, their job description must contribute to the function of the vessel and its mission. The LHWCA covers employees such as longshore workers, shipbuilders, shipyard workers, salvage and repair divers, dock and port workers, port crane operators, and harbor construction workers.
Workers who may not be covered by offshore laws
Workers who most likely are not covered under LHWCA or The Jones Act are clerical workers, security guards, data processors and federal government employees.
It can be difficult to know if one is covered under traditional workers’ compensation, LHWCA or The Jones Act. When one finds themselves in troubled waters, it is useful to have help navigating the obstacles. Legal representation that is knowledgeable about Louisiana maritime law can help offshore workers in their time of need.