The maritime industry covers an array of job sites and occupations, including offshore facilities and ports. Most people associated maritime accidents with adverse weather, and naturally occurring dangerous conditions. However, the maritime industry includes a wide assortment of job sites and occupations that include shore-based and offshore activities in fields such as, marine transportation, shipyards, marine terminals, aquaculture, seafood processing, commercial diving, and fishing. As a result, maritime workers and seamen face a variety of potential injuries both on land and at sea.
Defective Maritime Products
Whether shore or sea-based, a maritime worker's environment is full of sophisticated electrical equipment, engines, machines, and additional marine equipment crucial to operations.
All too frequently, workers are injured as a result of defective products. As a result, admiralty law, a.k.a maritime law, governs claims involving poorly designed and flawed products, providing the accident happened on navigable waters. Maritime law governs cases seeking justice from manufacturers of defective products and employers liable for an employee’s injuries.
Port and Pier Accidents
Ships and vessels require docks and ports to transport their loads from sea to land and are considered essential to maritime work. Ports are where critical activities related to maritime work take place. Ports and docks are considered some of the most dangerous job sites in the world. Ports are bustling with activity, vehicles, vessels, heavy machinery, and people that are continuously moving around.
Listed below are the most frequently reported dock and pier accident:
Inadequate Training and Maritime Injuries
According to OSHA, the federal agency responsible for setting workplace safety guidelines, maritime employment is one of the most dangerous professions in the United States. Consequently, stringent safety regulations and laws govern maritime workers, ensuring they receive appropriate safety training to do their jobs as accurately and safely as possible.
Unfortunately, many maritime employers are focused on short-term, deadline-oriented goals at the expense of properly training their workers. The result, maritime employees and seamen are seriously injured, and sometimes killed in workplace accidents by poorly trained or incompetent colleagues. Under maritime law and additional legislative acts, employers are legally obligated to provide maritime workers with a safe working environment and proper training.
Unseaworthy Vessels and Maritime Injuries
Sea vessel navigation is an inherently dangerous environment, even when conditions are ideal. Seamen work and live on these vessels for months at a time. It is imperative that these ships, vessels, or other watercraft are well-built, maintained, updated, and in good working condition for the safety of their crew. If a vessel is not seaworthy, accidents tend to occur, injuring or killing crew members. Admiralty law provides that a vessel’s owner(s) are responsible for ensuring the seaworthiness of their ships, and when not maintained, they are liable for damages caused by neglect.
The most frequent offshore injuries caused by unseaworthy vessels include:
Maritime Shore Based Accidents
Most people associate maritime accidents with water-based disasters. However, they are equally, if not more likely, to occur at onshore facilities such as ports and harbors where vessels and ships moor for unloading, loading, maintenance, and fuel and provisions. As you can imagine, ports are bustling with activity, involving large numbers of workers, commercial and personal vehicles and heavy machinery. Admiralty law, the Long-shore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, and The Jones Act protect the rights of maritime personnel if hurt during a job-related accident caused by employer negligence.
Below are the most frequently occurring maritime accidents at ports and harbors:
Port workers and seamen work in a hostile environment full of hazards. A common danger is exposure to toxic chemicals and other harmful substances that cause serious diseases, injuries, and deaths to maritime workers.
In addition, many ships built prior to 1980 contain asbestos fibers that are easily inhaled. Asbestos fiber inhalation can cause the onset of diseases such as mesothelioma and asbestosis. Long-shore workers and seaman are also susceptible to respiratory damage from benzene, a naturally occurring chemical found in diesel oil, gasoline, and other petroleum products.
Offshore Maritime Injuries
Offshore maritime jobs (oil rigs and natural gas well workers) are equally essential to the U.S. economy. These offshore energy production and mineral resources facilities are also among the most dangerous work sites in the world due in large part to their location, complex machinery, and crew members mixed with a harsh, unforgiving environment. A single defective valve can cause a catastrophic disaster, as seen during the Deepwater Horizon explosion in 2010. The Deepwater Horizon accident killed 11 offshore workers, injured an additional 16, and created the largest avoidable environmental disaster in United States history.
While the Deepwater Horizons tragedy made headline news, less reported events occur on offshore facilities, resulting in injury and death of maritime professionals, all too frequently.
Listed below are the most commonly reported accidents:
Even when properly maintained, ships and vessels are still subject to sinking from an array of causes. But when an owner or responsible party fails to take the steps necessary to keep a vessel safe to operate and seaworthy, they put the crew, cargo, and passengers aboard in danger. There have been occasions when reckless captains or negligent owners have ignored maintenance issues, withheld needed equipment upgrades, or given inappropriate orders.
The most common and preventable causes of ships and vessels sinking include:
The maritime industry is a bedrock of the U.S. economy, providing tens of thousands of good-paying jobs on an array of vessels and onshore and offshore facilities. These positions are among the C.D.C.s most dangerous professions list due to the inherent hazards present in the maritime environment. Add in negligent employer behavior, and you find a situation that places seamen and shore workers at risk for life-threatening and altering accidents and injuries. Employer negligence often has a significant impact on maritime accidents; in these cases, a worker has the right to file a claim for damages against the party responsible.
If you or a loved one were injured in a maritime accident, we strongly suggest calling a law firm specializing in Admiralty Law to review your case. The attorneys at Lundy, Lundy, Soileau & South have been helping maritime workers exercise their right to compensation for injuries incurred while performing their duties for over 30 years. Call to schedule your free, confidential consultation with one of our maritime accident lawyers (800) 259-1005.
Maritime Accident Attorney, Product Liability Lawyer, Longshoreman Injury Attorney, Slip Trip and Fall Lawyer, Offshore Injury Lawyer, Jones Act, Admiralty Law, Maritime Law
Areas of Practice
© COPYRIGHT 2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.