January 23, 2016
April 7, 2024

Top 10 Dangers of Maritime Work

Being injured while working on a ship is unfortunately fairly common. A maritime accident lawyer may be able to help you seek justice for your injuries. 

Thanks to the rise of e-commerce and globalization the maritime industry is booming. The ever-growing threat of global warming has also led to an increased need for maritime workers as rising sea levels have translated to waterway expansions and increased upkeep of key harbors. 

A career in the maritime industry has many benefits including a six-figure salary (without the burden of student loans), travel opportunities, excellent healthcare coverage, and a challenging work environment. Yet, these benefits are not without considerable drawbacks. The maritime industry can be a difficult and incredibly dangerous field to work in. 

Before you commit to a career in the maritime industry, you must first consider the fact that the slightest mistake could cause you serious and significant injury. Even with a well trained-crew of maritime workers, critical safety errors may occur and unavoidable maritime accidents may happen. If you are a maritime worker and have been injured while on the job, contact the attorneys at Pierce Skrabanek online or by calling (832) 690-7000. Our lawyers are standing by to help you in your time of need. 

How Dangerous Is Maritime Work? 

Working at sea as a deckhand, commercial fisherman, ship mechanic, commercial diver, oil rig operator, or marine engineer are very risky jobs. Simply put, the maritime industry is extremely dangerous.

No matter what position you find yourself working in, you will face many dangers during your maritime career. Some of the top dangers you may experience as a maritime worker may include: 

  1. Extreme working conditions: The working conditions on the open sea can be exceptionally dangerous. The ocean itself is always unpredictable to a certain degree. Depending on what type of ship you are working on, you may find yourself working in high, open spaces, or cramped tight quarters
  1. Erratic work schedules: The maritime industry operates 24/7 so workers must be available exactly when they are needed. Some jobs, like offshore work, will provide two weeks on three weeks off type schedules–but even so, these are not your classic 9-5 office routines. Sometimes, there is little opportunity to sleep or rest. Exhausted workers are more likely to make mistakes than well-rested workers. 
  1. Slips and falls: Slick surfaces, the rocking motion of the ocean, and the lack of non-skid surfaces make slip-and-fall accidents and injuries quite common. The Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) reports that slip and fall accidents are second only to car accidents when it comes to cases of accidental death. Broken bones, head injuries, and even drowning are some of the injuries that a slip and fall may cause. 
  1. Asbestos and mesothelioma: Shipyard workers and shipbuilders are exposed to high levels of asbestos. Inhaling large quantities of these materials can be incredibly harmful. Long-term exposure to asbestos can cause lung disease, severe fibrosis, and even a form of cancer called mesothelioma. 
  1. Stress-related illnesses: Safety constraints, erratic work schedules, confined living spaces, lack of privacy, and isolation from family and friends can harm a seaman or maritime worker’s health. Emotional distress can cause physical distress. Simply witnessing another person experience a severe accident can induce a stress-related illness such as post-traumatic stress disorder. 
  1. Chemical hazards: Ships, barges, and oil rig platforms handle some of the world’s most dangerous chemicals. Highly flammable, corrosive, or explosive chemicals can spill onto a worker, resulting in severe burns or loss of limb function. 
  1. Fires and electricity: The engine requires the skill of engineers to control the ship's primary functions. If these machines are not properly maintained, they could become very dangerous and may even cause explosions or fires that injure workers as well as the ship itself. 
  1. Substandard equipment and older vessels: Ships in poor conditions or older ships are prime suspects for worker injuries. If this ship’s poor condition contributed to your injury, you may have grounds for a Jones Act Claim.  Jones Acts Claims are incredibly complex and usually require the assistance of a maritime lawyer. 
  1. Kidnapping or piracy: Working offshore provides individuals with the unique opportunity to travel internationally. However, the risks of being on-boarded by modern pirates and other acts of terrorism increase as you travel to different territories. In the past, U.S. Greenpeace, and other environmental activists disrupted oil platforms and drilling activities. 
  1. Salvage Diving: If a leak, crash, fire, or sunken vessel is discovered, a marine diver will be called in to fix the problem. Salvage diving is an incredibly dangerous maritime job due to underwater working conditions and the tools needed to solve problems. Drowning, getting lost, being crushed by falling objects, and underwater explosions are just a few of the risks of this complicated job. 

What Is Meant By Maritime Safety? 

Maritime safety refers to the collection of measures and safety precautions utilized to safeguard life at sea. It is an essential prerequisite for running any kind of successful business at sea. By adhering to best practices and protocols, the risk of accidents and maritime injuries is greatly reduced. 

Regulating authorities, such as OSHA, set guidelines for maritime safety. These guidelines may pertain to personal flotation devices, vessel occupancy limits, chemical and waste storage, and more. When these regulations are ignored or disregarded and injury occurs, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. 

Maritime safety can be incredibly complicated as it involves overlapping areas of law including, federal, state, and even international. When choosing an attorney to handle your maritime accident lawsuit, it is important to choose a firm with extensive experience in maritime lawsuits

If a lack of best practices and safety protocol at your maritime job has resulted in serious injury, you may be entitled to financial compensation. The maritime lawyers at Pierce Skrabanek have the answers. Contact them online or by calling (832) 690-7000. We are standing by to help you.

What Are the Common Problems of a Seafarer? 

A life and career at sea is certainly not for the faint of heart. There are many common problems that seafarers may face including: 

  • Emotional challenges: Isolation, loneliness, separation from family, and extreme fatigue. 
  • Lack of proper training: Seafarers are often sent out into the field without proper training, some even report having to learn how to operate heavy machinery equipment “on the job.”
  • Monotony and lack of activities: Seafarers often feel that their routines are monotonous and lacking in stimulation.

The combination of these problems as well as the aforementioned dangers often create the perfect storm for accidents and injuries to occur. The maritime industry is aware of these emotional challenges and the effects that they may have on seafarers. If you were not given proper support by your employer to protect against these dangers and have suffered an accident due to negligence, you may be entitled to financial compensation.   

Contact a Knowledgeable Maritime Attorney 

Despite the risks, the time away from family, and the demanding pressures of this unique workplace, a career in the maritime industry can be profitable and rewarding. A career in the maritime industry can provide a better life for you and your family. However, when corporations place their maritime workers in danger or workers are injured as a result of their negligence, they must be held accountable.

If you are injured on the job, an experienced and knowledgeable maritime attorney can help you navigate complicated maritime law and recover compensation. The personal injury lawyers at Pierce Skrabanek have been serving and representing maritime workers in the state of Texas for many years and have achieved incredible results for their clients. They have recovered millions of dollars for maritime workers who have been injured offshore. These victories include a $16.9 million dollar verdict for a worker injured while working on an oil rig in the Persian Gulf. 

Contact the experienced maritime attorneys at Pierce Skrabanek online or by calling (832) 690-7000. We are standing by to fight for you and to help you seek justice. 

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