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Louisiana Maritime Law Blog

Working on an oil rig can be a dangerous job: Here's why

Working on an oil rig is not always as safe as it may appear. While you are in a contained environment, you're also far from medical help and assistance when it's needed. It can be hard to get care to you quickly, which can be a problem if there is an explosion or accident on the rig.

Did you know that there are around 1,500 oil rigs in the oceans today? Though there are so many and the work is financially rewarding, there are still a number of serious accidents that have taken place on them. Safety is usually taken seriously, but even so, accidents still happen.

Commercial fishing is a dangerous job and can lead to injuries

Fishermen are exposed to all kinds of hazards. When you are on the docks, onboard the ship or working at sea, you need to take steps to keep yourself safe. You know all about personal protective equipment and ways to keep yourself and others safe, but that may not always be enough.

Humans make mistakes, and the water can be unpredictable. Some common issues and hazards fishermen run into include:

  • Falling through hatches
  • Suffering overuse injuries to the back, shoulders and neck
  • Getting caught in equipment or machinery, netting or other devices
  • Falling due to broken or damaged equipment
  • Anchor, crane or winch failures

If you're hurt at sea, know your rights

When you're hurt while working at sea, you may be able to seek compensation for the injuries you've suffered. Maritime laws protect your rights as a seaman. You actually have rights that extend beyond the average worker.

In general, seamen have access to payments for medical treatment, for lost wages during a disability, permanent partial disability, negligence and unseaworthiness claims and payment for cure, unearned wages and maintenance.

Here is what you should know about the Jones Act

In the Merchant Marine Act, there is one section, section 27, which is known as the Jones Act. This act requires that all vessels that transport goods between domestic ports be owned, crewed and built by Americans. As a result, this act plays a vital role in sustaining the American maritime industry. It's something you should know if you want to file a claim for any kind of violation of this act.

The Jones Act is considered to be critical to national and economic security. It also helps protect the nation's lakes, canals and rivers by making sure that the ships that travel there are American vessels with crews that have the appropriate training.

Hurt on the dock? Understand your rights as a maritime worker

You were heading out on the dock to help unload a ship that had just come in. While on your way there, you felt the dock suddenly give away. It was a horrible situation, and you ended up underwater. Someone was able to get you out, but you were submerged for some time. You are still recovering in the hospital now, but you're frustrated that the dock wasn't maintained appropriately. Your injuries could have been avoided.

There are many kinds of maritime injuries that could have happened to you, but you're dealing with your own unique situation. You just want to make sure that you will be able to get fair compensation for what you've been through and to be able to recover without worrying about money or work.

If you're working in a shipyard, you could face hazards

Shipyard workers are often at risk of being injured. These workers are involved in repairing, dismantling and maintaining boats and ships, so they are constantly exposed to activities such as plumbing, electrical work and cleaning up fuel or chemical residues.

As a shipyard worker, it's important that you understand the risks of your job. You need to know that you could be exposed to:

  • Asbestos
  • Solvents
  • Fuels
  • Paints
  • Welding fumes
  • Hazardous air (hot air)
  • Confined spaces
  • Work done at heights

The Jones Act may give you a right to sue

The Jones Act is a federal law. It regulates maritime commerce and how the goods coming into or leaving U.S. ports are transported. The act requires all items shipped between ports in the United States to be on ships that are built, operated and owned by permanent residents or citizens of the United States.

Thanks to the Jones Act, seamen who are injured during their time working at sea or in maritime employment can sue their employers for negligence damages. The Jones Act requires all maritime employers to guarantee their seamen a safe place to work.

What can you do to prevent accidents on a barge?

Working on a barge has been something you have really enjoyed, but recently you've been noticing more and more people getting hurt. Working on a barge has always been dangerous, but with your latest batch of coworkers, there has already been a crushing injury, a herniated disc and injuries to one person's hands.

You want to do all you can to prevent any further injuries. So, what should you do?

Understand the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act

If you're not familiar with the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA), you should know that it is a federal law that makes sure that employees hurt on the navigable waters of the U.S. are able to obtain medical care, compensation and vocational rehabilitation. This law also covers those who are working in areas used for the unloading, loading, building or repairing of a vessel.

This act is vital for surviving widows and widowers, as it provides survivor benefits to dependents when the work they were doing contributed to or caused their loved one's death. Injuries covered by the act include occupational illnesses, hearing loss and diseases as well as physical injuries.

Commercial fishermen are at risk of injury: Protect yourself

There are many reasons why people get hurt when working as commercial fishermen. From poor weather conditions to a lack of training, the reasons add up and make any fishing excursion more dangerous.

Did you know that commercial fishing is one of the most hazardous occupations in the country? It has a fatality rate that is 29 times higher than the national average.

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