Because of the physical demands associated with working in a shipyard or on navigable waters, you may be at risk for numerous injury accidents, including:
- Lost limbs
- Back problems
- Neck injuries
- Herniated discs
What Rules Must My Employer Follow?
The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration has established standards governing longshoring and shipyard conditions. For example, OSHA regulates:
- Working surfaces (such as hatch coverings, landing surfaces, and weather deck rails);
- A vessel's cargo handling gear (such as rigging gear and cranes);
- Handling cargo (such as slinging, cargo elevators, and handling dangerous cargo);
- General working conditions (such as ventilation, first aid, sanitation, and emergency action plans); and
- Personal protective equipment (such as protection for your eyes, face, head, and feet).
Can My Employer Be Held Responsible for My Injuries?
State-regulated workers' compensation insurance generally does not apply to injuries sustained on ships or other floating vessels, such as:
- Commercial fishing boats
- Cargo ships
- Cruise ships
- Drill vessels
Nevertheless, you may be able to recover under the Longshoreman and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, which compensates for the limitations under the Jones Act (which only covers employees injured at sea) and under state workers' compensation (which only pays for injuries occurring in a particular state and usually not on navigable waters).
What Is The Longshoreman and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act?
This federal regulation entitles injured workers to medical, disability, and rehabilitation benefits and survivors to death benefits. Furthermore, you could be covered if you contract a disease that arose naturally from marine work. If you are a maritime worker, you may be eligible to recover under this Act, if you have suffered an injury while:
- Loading or unloading a vessel
- Working on a dock, pier, wharf, terminal, building way, marine railway, or bridge
- Performing your duties on navigable waters
- Building, repairing, or dismantling a ship
Do I Need A Lawyer?
A maritime or employment lawyer is in the best position to inform you of your rights and to answer any questions you may have regarding the Longshoreman and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act.