Better Reporting Needed for Maritime Injuries

Data regarding injuries can be a powerful tool when making changes to prevent accidents and improve safety. By reviewing and analyzing data on when, where, and how maritime accidents occur, it is possible to better understand the greatest threats of injury and to prioritize addressing ship hazards.

Accordingly, several marine organizations are calling for better reporting of maritime injuries and near misses. This follows an industrywide project that analyzed 12,000 injuries and 100,000 near misses recorded over a six-year period. The American Bureau of Shipping, Lamar Mariner Safety Research Initiative, and the American Club performed the analysis.

Injuries are Costly

The total cost of the reported injuries was $246 million. The overall average cost of each incident was more than $65,000. The most frequent injury occurred during lifting or from slip and falls. These accounted for 1,300 incidents with a combined cost of more than $85 million. The following is a breakdown of average costs by injury type:

  • Lifting: $48,000
  • Falls and trips: $88,000
  • Slips: $56,000

For these injuries, those to the head and neck were the costliest averaging over $100,000 per incident, followed by injury to the back and torso at $66,000 per incident. Most of the fall incidents occurred on deck and the others occurred in the engine room or on stairs. Causes associated with these injuries included lack of situational awareness, seafarer fatigue, not following procedures, design features, and lack of anti-slip material on decks.

Most of the lifting injuries also occurred on deck and in the engine room with five percent of incidents happening in either cargo areas or the galley. Back injuries were the most frequently reported, followed by arm, hand, leg, and foot.

Federal Recordkeeping Requirements

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires many employers, including those in the maritime industry, to maintain a Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses and to compile annual summaries. These logs must be kept for at least five years and made available for employees to review.

Study Participants Recommend Better Recordkeeping Practices

Study participants found that analyzing injury data provided valuable insight into how and where seafarers were being injured. It also helped define what the maritime industry can do to prevent or minimize the incidence and severity of injuries to maritime workers.

The study also found that the collection of injury data was inconsistent and not comprehensive. Better understanding of the nature of injuries and how to prevent them might have been possible with better data. The three organizations involved adopted a new standard for maritime injury reporting to provide better data. The goal is to improve understanding and prevention of maritime injuries overall.

Cape May Maritime Injury Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Advocate for Injured Maritime Workers

If you experienced an injury at sea, our experienced Cape May maritime injury lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. will assist you in pursuing compensation. Maritime law regarding payment for lost work and medical expenses is different from laws that apply to land accidents. Call us at 888-999-1962 or complete an online form to set up a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and Pinehurst, North Carolina, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Cape May and Wildwood.