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Understanding Dredge Accidents

Maritime workers contribute significantly to the economy. Workers on dredges are some of the unsung heroes of the maritime industry. The amount of effort to ensure that the waterways and channels are accessible makes them even more critical in the maritime sector. In addition, dredge workers work hard to obtain fill material that is used in all types of onshore operations

However, working on dredges can be incredibly dangerous. Although heavy machinery is the major contributor to dredge accidents, sometimes these accidents occur due to the vessel’s unseaworthiness or the management’s negligence. Dredging exposes the workers to hostile conditions that often cause dredge accidents – leading to injuries.

Sustaining injuries from a dredging accident can be debilitating. However, workers can take advantage of their rights envisioned in the Maritime law. 

What is a Dredge?

A dredge (also called a “dredger”) is a vessel that excavates materials from the bottom of lakes, rivers, harbors, and other water bodies. A dredger seeks to deepen the waterway channel and make it navigable for other ships or to dig out fill material that can be used in other operations.

To achieve this, multiple types of dredges can be utilized. For example, suction dredgers utilize a long tube to suck sediments from the bed of a waterway. Mechanical dredgers, on the other hand, use a grabber or bucket to excavate. Other types of dredges include hydraulic dredges and hopper dredges.

Common Causes of Dredging Accidents

Although dredging is essential, it places dredge workers in hazardous conditions that can result in offshore accidents. Multiple factors come into play, leading to a dredging accident. However, some of the common causes of dredge accidents include:

Failure of Equipment

Workers often utilize heavy equipment on dredges to help excavate materials from the waterway. For effectiveness and efficiency, the owners of the equipment should keep to a regular maintenance schedule to make sure that the equipment stays in safe operating condition. Failure to do this can lead to malfunctions which put workers at risk of sustaining severe injuries.


A common cause of accidents in the maritime industry is collisions. Collision is possible for dredging vessels, especially because dredging takes place below the water and above it. This means that dredgers operating on the waterway may collide with other ships operating in the busy channels.

Hazardous Deck Conditions

A lot of machinery and equipment is used on the deck to make dredging successful. Although essential, they are potentially dangerous to the workers. Strictly speaking, slip and fall accidents are commonly experienced due to the machinery and equipment that make the deck hazardous.

Also, natural conditions are partly to blame for the accidents. This is because dangerous water and weather conditions expose workers to the risk of falling overboard while dredging.

Improper Safety Procedures

Dredging requires specialized skills and training to be completed successfully. However, if the workers lack proper training, even a momentary lapse in the procedure may lead to a severe accident.

Owners of dredge vessels are required to provide adequate training for the crews and have sufficient staff as part of the safety procedures. Failure to do so can lead to injuries and lawsuits for damages suffered by injured offshore workers.

Common injuries that occur using dredgers

There being multiple causes of dredge accidents, most workers may end up sustaining life-threatening injuries. In the extreme, other dredging accidents can lead to death.

That said, the following are some of the common dredge accident injuries:

Tips if You’ve Been Injured in a Dredging Accident

A dredging accident can be catastrophic, to say the least. Most victims of such accidents sustain severe injuries, keeping them out of work for an extended period. However, one of the most critical steps after a dredging accident is seeking medical care immediately. 

Seeking medical attention is important because it ensures you recover quickly and prevents further injuries. If you’ve been injured in a dredge accident, even if you feel like it might not be a severe injury, report it right away and get the medical attention you need. 

Your employer should pay for your medical bills and compensate you for the time that you are unable to work, with such compensation likely coming in the form of maintenance and cure or benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act. While many employers take care of their injured employees, that is not always the case. Sometimes employers deny benefits, deny injuries, or rush employees back to work. This is why if you’ve been injured in a dredge accident, you should at least consult with an offshore injury lawyer 

How Can an Offshore Injury Attorney help?

A Louisiana offshore injury lawyer is one of the most valuable assets you must have following a dredging accident. Put simply, an attorney can help you with:

  • Collecting relevant evidence, including medical records
  • Negotiating with the insurance company or employer on your behalf
  • Make sure your interests are fully protected

Let Us Help You Today.

Speaking to an attorney from the onset can help you build a robust claim. At The Mahone Firm, we seek to ensure that injured workers get the amount of compensation they deserve. We can help you understand the legal options available under the maritime law, the Jones Act, and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. 
Contact Mike Mahone today at (504)  564-7342 for a free no-obligation consultation.

Mike Mahone

Mike Mahone

Mike Mahone is a personal injury and business litigation lawyer located in New Orleans, LA, and the sole practitioner of The Mahone Firm.

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