Head Injuries

worker wearing safety gear with head injury at work

Maritime Head Injuries

Out of the numerous risks involved in maritime work, head injuries can be one of the most common – and one of the most dangerous.

Head injuries can take many forms, have many causes, and lead to many painful conditions, even death. Very rare is the head injury you can just ‘shake off’; indeed, as our understanding of brain injuries has developed in recent years, the number of head injuries that could result in death, disfigurement, paralysis, or the need for lifelong treatment has seemingly risen with it.

The constant motion of the vessel, as well as the various heavy machinery and strenuous activities aboard the ship, can create a greater risk of head injuries than in many other professions. By understanding the common causes of these injuries, as well as the risks they can present, you can create a safer environment for your vessel and your crew.

Common Causes of Maritime Head Injuries

More often than not, major head injuries on offshore vessels are caused by negligence, such as unsafe work areas or improperly maintained equipment. A few of the most common sources of these injuries include: 

  • Slip-and-fall injuries from puddles of water left on the floor, oil or improperly cleaned walking areas
  • Crane accidents from improper crane usage
  • Collisions with improperly placed storage containers, open tool cabinets, or unsafely hung shelves
  • Accidents from incorrect usage of conveyor belts to move equipment or inventory
  • Injuries from collisions, including other vessels or accidents at the dock
  • Lack of proper safety equipment

While maritime head injuries can take many forms, these are the most commonly-seen, and are frequently the result of unsafe working conditions.

Common Types of Maritime Head Injuries

Maritime accidents that lead to head injuries generally result in one of two different types of head trauma: open head injuries, and closed head injuries. 

Closed head injuries are any injury that doesn’t result in an open wound to the head, but still damages the brain internally. These injuries are difficult to diagnose, but still post a grave danger to the worker’s health and quality of life, particularly if left untreated or undiagnosed for a prolonged period of time. The results of these injuries could include concussions, hemorrhaging, or hematomas.

Open head injuries are injuries resulting in the skull being fractured or broken in some way. Typically, these injuries are caused by a collision between the skull and an object heavy enough to cause damage of that magnitude, and must be treated immediately to prevent further damage or injury to the skull and/or brain.

Symptoms of Maritime Head Injuries

While the symptoms of head trauma can be many and varied, there are a few common symptoms that typically accompany a major head injury, including:

  • Concussions
  • Skull fractures
  • Internal bleeding/hemorrhaging of the brain
  • Nerve damage
  • Chronic ringing of the ears (or tinnitus)
  • Blurred vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Dizziness
  • Mood swings
  • Difficulty sleeping

If you or a loved one have begun to develop any of these symptoms after an injury onboard a vessel, it may be the symptom of a greater brain trauma or head injury.

What Can I Do After A Head Injury While Working At Sea?

If you have suffered a head injury while working offshore, the first thing you need to do is seek immediate medical attention. This can help save your life and prevent further injury, as well as helping to create a record of immediate treatment – a record you’ll need when seeking justice for your case.

After talking to a doctor, you should reach out to a maritime attorney to help review the facts of your case and work to fight for your fair and just compensation. Trust the maritime lawyers of O’Bryan Law to fight for you against even the biggest offshore companies, no matter how life-changing your injury may have been.