Maritime workers routinely work with and around large pieces of machinery. Whether they are working on ships, docks, barges, boats, oil rigs, or other maritime vessels, they count on critical equipment to work properly to do their jobs and stay safe. When equipment fails, the consequences can be catastrophic for the vessels, the companies that own them, and the workers themselves, who may suffer devastating injuries. Because of the size of the equipment involved, injuries are often very severe or even fatal.
Critical Maritime Equipment
There are many pieces of equipment that must work together to keep operations running on a maritime vessel, rig, or port. Each worksite has pieces of critical equipment that can create dangerous situations if they should suddenly fail or malfunction. Common types of critical equipment include:
- Electrical equipment
- Steering equipment
- Propulsion equipment
- Rigging equipment
- Hydraulic systems
- Processing systems
If any of these parts should fail, vessels could be compromised, and workers put at risk for serious injury. When vessels and ports have parts that break down, such as ladders, winches, lighting systems, safety equipment, doors, bearings, cables, or ropes, this can also endanger workers.
With so many parts working together, there are several ways that an equipment-related accident can occur, such as:
- Improper maintenance: Equipment must be tested, cleaned, adjusted, lubricated, repaired, and replaced as needed to prevent issues from arising
- Corrosion: Regular exposure to water can weaken some pieces of equipment, which should be checked frequently
- Misalignment: Machines and their components must be properly tuned to each other so that they can work together as needed
- Inadequate training: Workers must understand how to use equipment safely and effectively, and safety policies must be enforced
- Wrong tools or gear: If workers are not provided with the correct tools or proper protective gear to work with maritime equipment, they are at risk for injury
- Defective equipment: Equipment that has an inherent fault in its design or manufacturing can put workers at risk
- Insufficient staffing: Employers must make sure there are enough workers to properly operate equipment and manage processes
Liability in Equipment Failure Accidents
Maritime employers are responsible for maintaining a safe working environment for their employees. Workers must be thoroughly trained in how to handle equipment properly, as well as be provided with the proper safety equipment. In the event of an emergency, especially one that takes place at sea, there should be stand-by equipment and safety protocols in place. Failure to take these precautions can result in fatal accidents, including fires, electrocutions, slip and fall accidents, explosions, exposure to hazardous substances, or workers being crushed by equipment.
Maritime workers who suffer a work-related injury are eligible for Workers’ Compensation under maritime law. Depending on the nature of the injury or illness, they may also be able to pursue a third-party liability lawsuit to recover compensation for their injuries. If the equipment failure was caused by a defect, the designer or manufacturer may be liable for injuries that result from that failure. If the equipment is assembled, inspected, or maintained by an outside party that fails in their obligations, they can be held responsible for resulting accidents.
Cape May Maritime Injury Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Obtain Compensation for Those Injured Due to Equipment Failure
If you or a loved one was injured in a maritime accident involving equipment failure, call the Cape May maritime injury lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. We will thoroughly review the facts of your case and prepare an aggressive legal strategy to obtain the compensation to which you are entitled. Conveniently located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Pinehurst, North Carolina, we represent clients throughout South Jersey, including Wildwood and Cape May. Call us today at 888-999-1962 or contact us online for a free consultation.