What are Common Accidents and Injuries Among Maritime Workers?
Hazards aboard ships are countless and working in the open sea only compounds these risks. Ships are moving workplaces and have many complex systems. They must be properly operated and maintained for the safety of the crew, passengers, and cargo. For a ship to be free of unnecessary hazards, there must be a combined effort from the ship owners, captain, and the crew. If any of these workers fail to do their part, serious maritime injuries can occur or even death. Recognizing common hazards and injuries can better prepare maritime workers.
Slip and Falls
Slip and fall accidents on deck are often caused by wet surfaces. However, even getting from one part of the ship to another can be hazardous. Throughout the ship are strategically placed handrails and anti-slip materials to reduce risk of falls. Additionally, oils can be present on the floor of the boiler room and galley. Rough seas, unexpected storms, and abrupt navigational changes make falls even more likely. Common injuries can range from minor sprains to more serious injuries. A fall down the stairs can result in a traumatic brain injury or a broken bone. If a worker goes overboard, they risk drowning or hypothermia.
Derricks, Cranes, and Dropped Cargo
Large cranes and derricks are often used to load cargo and supplies. Cranes and derricks need to be properly maintained, positioned, and operated by skilled personnel. If someone is in the path of moving materials, the person can be hit by a crane or by heavy cargo. Improperly stowed equipment or loaded cargo can also be dropped. Being hit by fallen objects often result in broken bones, concussions, and can even be fatal.
Exposure to Chemicals
Solvents, scale removers, and cleaning agents are some of the chemicals used while on ships; these can be toxic and require proper ventilation. The crew may also need to wear protective gear, such as respirators and gloves. Injuries will depend on the type of chemical being used, but usually involves lung damage or chemical burns. When chemicals are used in poorly ventilated areas, such as confined spaces, asphyxiation and death can occur.
Exposure to Electricity and Fire
Water conducts electricity, and an open circuit can convey electrical charges to distances remote from the source. Exposure to electric currents or electric arcs can cause burns, electrical shock, or electrocution. Explosions and fires can erupt on ships and are generally caused by electrical sparks igniting something combustible, such as mishaps in the engine room or accidents while cooking in the gallery. Suppressing fires can cause the crew to experience smoke inhalation and burns, which can be fatal.
Rights of the Injured Crew
Maritime accident victims face serious challenges. Obtaining compensation for maritime injuries is different than standard processes. Usually, a seriously injured maritime worker needs to pursue claims under maritime law. Obligations to maintain a safe work environment are shared between ship owners and employers. Ship owners are often large corporations and frequently dispute claims. If an injury or accident occurs onboard, it is important to contact an attorney immediately.
Cape May Maritime Injury Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Protect Injured Maritime Workers
If you are an injured maritime worker, our dedicated Cape May maritime injury lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. can evaluate your case and help you obtain maximum compensation. Call us at 888-999-1962 or complete our online form to set up a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and Pinehurst, North Carolina, we represent clients throughout South Jersey, including Cape May and Wildwood.