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Louisiana Maritime Law Blog

How dangerous is it to work as an offshore oil rig diver?

Being employed as an offshore oil rig worker is dangerous. Commercial divers have perhaps one of the most hazardous jobs of all though.

Most individuals who are hired to work on oil rigs travel hundreds of miles out into the ocean to a work on a conglomerate of large, heavy-duty equipment out in the middle of nowhere at sea.

Common causes of fires on commercial vessels

An explosion or fire emerging while out on the sea can be terrifying. You only have so much of your ship you can navigate around. These flames can severely damage the ship and potentially leave passengers stranded until they receive assistance from firefighters or the U.S. Coast Guard.

There are several ways your vessel could combust if you aren’t careful. Commercial fishers and maritime workers should be familiar with how their ships can catch fire quickly to avoid severe burns next to the water.

8 workers injured when crane strikes cruise ship

Working on cruise ships can be dangerous, as some workers recently discovered when a crane slammed into a cruise ship in the Bahamas.

Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas ship was docked in the Grand Bahama Shipyard for maintenance. Therefore, no passengers were aboard when the damage occurred. However, eight workers were injured in the incident that occurred on April 1. The damage was severe enough to cause an upcoming cruise to be canceled. The dock was also reportedly destroyed in the accident.

Human error causes most boat accidents

It's easy to point to outside factors in a boating accident. Maybe the weather suddenly got bad, and a storm came up. Maybe the boat malfunctioned in some way out at sea. Maybe the map was wrong and did not pinpoint where the rocks and shoals actually lay.

These things do play into the overall picture, and they do cause accidents. Very safe, smart boaters still get injured or even killed because of things outside of their control.

Cruise staff members must know when safety drills are happening

When it comes to safety training on a cruise ship, the whole crew needs training on how to respond to emergency situations. Cruises are massive vessels where anyone can easily get lost and left behind if they are unaware of what’s going on and what they need to do.

While ship technology has improved to heavily minimize these chances of emergencies, it also makes it that much more important to let workers know how to act when these new devices are in motion. This also holds true for safety drills. Even though the ship isn’t in an actual emergency, neglecting to inform all of the staff when they happen can leave them ill-prepared or cause actual disasters on their own.

Ocean fishing has myriad dangers

Ocean fishing is often referred to as one of the most dangerous professions in the world. It takes lives and leads to serious injuries. The high demand for fish means that it's a viable career and a lot of people still turn to this trade, but they have to understand the risks.

For one thing, even doing the job in the best of conditions is taxing physical work. You have to haul cages and/or nets out of the water. With a full catch, they can weigh hundreds of pounds. Even using mechanical aids does not take all of the toll off of your body. Plus, an accident -- a cage swinging against a fisherman or falling when a rope breaks, for instance -- can lead to serious and even fatal injuries in mere seconds.

Symptoms of decompression sickness

For a professional diver like yourself, one of the biggest hazards of the job is decompression sickness. You have to be very careful not to develop a case of this potentially deadly disorder.

Decompression sickness does go by a few different names, all of which refer to the same thing. Some of these names include Caisson Disease, the bends and decompression illness. No matter what you call it, it happens because of changing pressure as you return to the surface. If the pressure changes too quickly, you wind up with too much nitrogen in your blood when you get back to the top. The key is to surface slowly and potentially stop along the way so that your body can slowly work off the extra nitrogen without any ill effects.

How to prevent cold stress in commercial diving

Now that winter is over, many commercial divers in Louisiana may find themselves returning to work very soon. Even though the water is starting to get warmer, it will still be a while before we get those optimal summer temperatures. Until then, divers could have a high risk of developing cold stress on the job.

Too much exposure to cold water can result in hypothermia, decompression illness and other harmful diseases. Divers need to make sure that they are physically prepared for the water and know what to do in a potential cold stress emergency. If you’re scheduled to go underwater in the next few months, keep these tips in mind:

Judge awards millions to injured Louisiana maritime worker

A Louisiana court recently heard and adjudicated an interesting case involving maritime law and the Jones Act. It is of particular interest because, while the plaintiff was awarded a seven-figure settlement, his Jones Act portion of the claim was denied.

The case involved a 22-year-old Louisiana resident who was transferring a generator between a crew boat and a barge. He suffered both spinal and head injuries when the two vessels drifted apart during the transfer, causing the worker to fall into the water and be struck by the plummeting portable generator.

Am I eligible for longshore and harbor workers' compensation?

Most workers in the United States are eligible for workers' compensation in the event they become injured. However, the law becomes more complicated when it comes to those who work in the maritime industry, including longshore and harbor workers.

If you have been injured as a maritime worker, it is important that you do not suffer financially as well as physically. When you are on the road to recovery, you should take the time to understand how the law applies to you and what compensation you should be entitled to.

Discuss your rights during a free consultation. There’s no fee unless we win.

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