Maritime work – it’s rewarding, it’s lucrative, it’s a huge part of American history, and it can be very dangerous.
Regardless of what you do or where you do it, there’s a lot of risk that comes along with working on the water. Any maritime career comes with it a number of inherent dangers, and thanks to the conditions on the water a lot of these dangers are commonplace whether you’re sailing along the Mississippi River or working deep in the Atlantic Ocean. A few of the most common injuries and accidents for maritime workers include:
Slip and Falls: Any navigable waterway, regardless of the weather conditions or its location, has one thing in common: water. Out of all the maritime injuries that water can contribute to, slip-and-falls are one of the most prevalent. Uneven deck floors, water on deck, choppy sea conditions, and even uncleared clutter can all contribute to slip and fall accidents onboard vessels, and these accidents can lead to serious injuries like concussions, broken bones, and even someone falling overboard in an unsecured area.
Falling Overboard: Speaking of, this is easily one of the most well-known, commonplace, and potentially dangerous accidents onboard vessels. More than just falling off a vessel while out to sea, workers can go overboard during cargo loads, moving between vessels, or handing needed equipment off of the vessel to other workers. In addition to the risk of drowning, falling overboard can bring with it the chance of hypothermia and serious injury depending on the conditions of the water the workers fall into.
Repetitive Use Injuries: A lot of maritime work requires workers to perform the same task over and over for prolonged periods of time, not unlike a lot of industrial work. Without proper safety training, safety equipment, and even mandated breaks, workers are in danger of overexertion and repetitive motion disorder, or RMD. The back, the legs, and the neck are among the body parts most commonly affected by RMD, and this can be a factor in onshore injuries as well as offshore injuries by affecting both workers onboard a vessel and the offshore crew that helps with cargo and equipment.
Pleural Disease: Defined in layman’s terms as a buildup of fluid in the lungs characterized by the hardening and/or thickening of lung tissue, pleural disease is commonly seen in workers with an exposure to toxic chemicals. Onshore and offshore workers alike can be exposed to hazardous chemicals through the nature of their work, and if the areas they work in are poorly ventilated or without proper safety measures the chemicals can begin building up in their lungs and cause massive injury and illness.
Limb Loss: Maybe the most serious and life-changing of the injuries maritime workers can encounter, there’s a high risk for limbs being crushed and lost during the course of maritime work. Equipment, heavy cargo loads, even ropes and lines can all be potential sources of lost limbs on the high seas. While fingers and hands are the most commonly lost limbs, arms, feet, and legs are at just as much risk.
If you’ve suffered any of these (or any other) injury while working on the water, don’t wait another minute. Contact an experienced Jones Act attorney like O’Bryan Law today and let us fight for the justice you deserve after your maritime injury – no matter how common or uncommon it may be.