The US maritime industry is one of the significant contributors to the growth of the US economy. According to the CDC, approximately 400,000 workers in the US are employed in various fields such as shipyards, commercial diving, marine transportation, and aquaculture. Despite the positive implications of the industry, one central area that continues to raise concerns, especially for the safety of workers in the shipyards.
Shipyards are, essentially, construction, repair, and maintenance facilities for seagoing vessels. Therefore, workers in this field grapple with the enormously complex work of repairing and assembling seagoing vessels. As a consequence, shipyard accidents have become tragically common. In fact, it is estimated that there are at least 45 fatal accidents per 100,000 shipyard workers and 5,370 non-fatal accidents per 100,000 workers.
That said, although modern safety measures improve safety, shipyards still represent a hazardous workplace. As such, it is essential for any worker injured in a shipyard accident to take advantage of the protections under maritime law and avoid suffering huge losses.
Potential Hazards That Cause Shipyard Accidents
Some of the potential hazards shipyard workers are often exposed to include:
- Slips and falls
- Exposure to toxic gases
- Machinery hazards
These types of hazards often lead to accidents in the workplace. What’s more, shipyard workers involved in these types of accidents often sustain injuries that can be debilitating, especially in the long run.
Common Shipyard Accidents
Shipyards cover multiple activities such as construction, repair, dismantling, and scrapping of vessels. Such activities involve the use of potentially dangerous tools and equipment, which raises concerns about the safety of workers. As such, workers face potential hazards, which often lead to accidents.
Some of the common shipyard accidents include:
Slips and Falls
To navigate properly on big ships, shipyard workers often need ladders and scaffolding. In such a case, it is highly possible that a worker might slip and fall while trying to accomplish specific tasks on the ship. In addition, the scaffolding and the ladder may collapse, leading to accidents.
Exposure to Toxic Gases
Some shipyards have poor working conditions brought about by toxic substances in the workplace. Shipyard workers exposed to poisonous gases often suffer serious health complications that may result in brain damage or death.
Heavy types of machinery, such as cranes, are very common in shipyards. Workers require skills and strength to handle the machinery. Therefore, if either is lacking, then a minor discrepancy may lead to fatal accidents. What’s more, the injury sustained as a result of such an accident can lead to death.
Shipyards are located close to the sea. Therefore, water-related accidents such as drowning are likely to occur.
Fires and Explosions
The majority of the work taking place in the shipyards requires electricity. For example, welding is one of the everyday activities in a shipyard that is meant to secure ship segments to one another. As such, the proximity of the fire and heat and the prominence of welding can lead to explosions and other fire-related accidents.
What Are the Common Types of Shipyard Injuries?
Unfortunately, shipyard accidents result in injuries. Most shipyard accidents often sustain injuries that, if not treated properly, can lead to severe complications.
That said, the following are the common types of injuries sustained by shipyard workers:
- Burn injuries
- Spinal damage
- Traumatic brain injury
- Bone fractures
- Respiratory system damage
Need Help After Shipyard Accidents? Contact an Attorney
Most shipyard accidents are often life-threatening, and victims of such accidents end up sustaining injuries that may damage their whole life completely. If you’ve been involved in a shipyard accident, then you may qualify for protection under maritime law.
However, the complexities of the provisions governing compensation may make it hard for you to obtain the amount of compensation you deserve. What’s more, other legislation such as the Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act may come into play in this legal process.
As such, it is imperative to have a competent and qualified attorney who can help you understand the rights you have under maritime law. In essence, an attorney will:
- Collect the relevant documents
- Establish liability
- Negotiate on your behalf
- Provide you with all the legal representation you may need
At The Mahone Firm, we seek to ensure that all injured workers get the compensation they need after sustaining an injury in the shipyards. We, indeed, have experience handling shipyard accidents and compensation claims. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation with Mike Mahone.