Winch Injuries

Cable winch on boat dock

Maritime Winch Injuries & Accidents

Winches, in various forms, are a common sight in maritime work – and a leading contributor to maritime injuries.

Most commonly seen on commercial fishing vessels, commercial winches are used to cast, adjust, and bring nets onboard containing the day’s catch, and can consist of some fairly complex machinery. This machinery can pose hazardous for any crew member required to operate these winches, especially if they have not been properly trained on its usage and maintenance.

Commercial fishing is already one of the most dangerous maritime occupations due to the nature of the work involved, as well as the environments in which the work is performed. But when you add dangerous machinery like commercial winches, the risk of injury – or even death – can be multiplied.


Common Types of Winching Accidents & Injuries

Whether through improper operation, employer negligence, or unsafe working conditions, winches can contribute to a number of different accidents and injuries, including:

  • Entangled clothing in net or winch machinery
  • Trapped limbs, digits, or extremities inside winch, leading to crushing injuries
  • Workers trapped inside net as winch retracts or descends
  • Head injuries and fractured skulls from winch machinery
  • Broken hands
  • Loss of limbs
  • Suffocation/strangulation (from the net being retracted improperly)


Common Causes of Winching Accidents

In many cases, these injuries resulted from a number of external factors, many of them resulting from overall dangerous conditions at work, including:

  • Lack of proper employee training on winch usage
  • Improperly maintained winch/lack of winch maintenance
  • Lack of visibility on deck
  • Poor employee communication
  • Lack of safety signage in areas where winch is being used
  • Lack of training in first aid among deckhands/lack of first aid equipment

Many of these causes stem from the root cause of employer negligence; or the danger of a work environment being inherently unsafe due to lack of proper oversight.


What Can I Do If I Have Been Injured By A Winch In Maritime Work?

When suffering a winch accident, the first thing you need to do is seek immediate medical attention. Not only will this help mitigate the damage from your injury, but it may also show that you took proper steps to reduce the overall harm done by your injury, no matter how severe.

From there, you should contact the maritime lawyers of O’Bryan Law as soon as you can. Once you contact us, we can begin reviewing the facts of your case, and work to determine the cause of your injury – and then begin the fight for justice.