While no maritime worker wants to be hurt at work, they are aware of the dangers it comes with when deciding to make this field their career. They are always at risk for accidents and injuries as they deal with various equipment that can malfunction, critical shipping cargo, unstable weather conditions, and other perils of the sea.
In the United States, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration established regulations, standards, and measures that seafarers have to follow to minimize offshore accidents. However, many incidents also result in a human error that cannot be anticipated. Keep reading to learn five different types of maritime worker injuries.
Getting struck by falling objects
This is one of the most common maritime worker injuries, especially for those on drillships, oil rigs, or multi-level ships. Structures like cranes and heavy machinery could break or loosen from its hold. Workers are often required to wear a hard hat to protect themselves from objects that might likely fall on the deck, but sometimes, such protection might not be enough.
Slip and falls
During bad weather, working on a ship can be treacherous, as surfaces can get wet and slippery. A maritime worker could easily slide, fall and seriously hurt their back, head or neck. Because of this, they are required to wear non-slip protective boots and gear. However, slip and falls can also occur from corroded and unstable stairways, ladders, handrails and walkways.
Getting burned from chemicals or faulty equipment
Some ships carry combustible materials and chemicals that may explode or easily cause a fire. Injuries from this type of offshore accident can be debilitating or fatal. Electrical accidents and shocks are common in some ships as well, especially if the equipment isn't well maintained or updated. Maritime workers in these environments need a strong background in science and engineering to mitigate the risks.
Maritime workers are usually trained to swim in case they fall overboard from ships and vessels. However, they are still at risk of drowning when the tides are stronger at sea. They also risk developing hypothermia when the water's temperature is freezing. In some cases, dock workers in crowded seaports could be crushed between boats if they fall overboard.
Losing a limb
As maritime workers handle different kinds of equipment, they risk losing a limb in the case of accidents. They could get their hand stuck in a conveyor belt or unintentionally thrust a body part in a trawl winch for fishing. A maritime worker who has to be amputated is likely to lose his job as well, because he or she won't be allowed to return in this condition.
Legal Help for Injured Maritime Workers Seeking Workers' Compensation
Aside from the physical disadvantages of injuries, a maritime worker can face additional challenges of dealing with medical bills, therapies, potential loss of earnings, and even psychological trauma. If you have been injured, make sure that you keep a proper record of your medical treatments, consultations, and therapies. You also have to file an accident report with your employers as soon as possible.
Consider discussing your case with a lawyer familiar with maritime workers' compensation. The Schwartz Law Firm has offices in Baton Rouge and Metairie, and we want nothing more than to serve our hardworking maritime and dock workers. Feel free to call us at 504-837-2263 for your free initial consultation today.