In March, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that a 30-year-old longshoreman fell off a steel shipping container then was run over by heavy equipment designed to hoist it off the ground. He ended up suffering a crushed pelvis and an amputated leg in the incident.
This incident highlighted the crush and amputation dangers that people in longshore work face.
What is longshore work, and how dangerous is it?
The terms “longshoreman” and “dockworker” can be used interchangeably. These are the individuals who work in docking ports, harbors or marinas.
Many people don’t realize how busy these workplaces can be until they visit them or work in one. Depending on the location, you might see cargo, cruise ships or recreational boats coming and going all day.
One of the primary work-related tasks that longshoremen perform is aiding with the transfer of cargo off and onto large barges. While they generally use forklifts and cranes to carry out these transfers, using this heavy equipment doesn’t come without risks. These include:
- Inclement weather causing a crane to become unstable, causing it to crash down on workers
- A forklift or crane operator setting down or dropping their load prematurely on top of a worker
- Containers becoming unstable due to improper stacking — falling and crushing a worker underneath
Federal laws such as the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act were created to protect individuals working in roles like that of longshoremen because they know how dangerous the profession is. It may allow you to recover compensated medical care, lost wages and other job-related accident expenses in the aftermath of such an incident.