If there's one thing that longshoremen have something in common with police officers and firefighters, it's that they all work long, hard hours. While each of these careers is physically demanding, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data shows that law enforcement officers and firefighters suffer more catastrophic injuries or die on the job than longshoremen do.
A report published by the BLS in 2015 captured how longshore workers risk life and limb every time they use their large machinery to move around heavy containers in the shipyard. They note that a simple mistake can result in crush or stuck by injuries or a longshoremen making a misstep as they navigate walking along narrow catwalks or climb scaffolds.
Although the work that longshore workers perform is dangerous, BLS data shows that firefighters and police officers are more prone to serious injuries or death than longshore workers are.
Data published between 2011 and 2013 by BLS showed that 99 per 10,000 full-time firefighters and 314 per 10,000 police officers were killed on the job. A staggering 453.6 per 10,000 of the former and 542.1 per 10,000 of the latter were seriously injured while on the clock.
BLS also published the injury and fatality rates for three of the most common types of jobs that longshore workers perform as a point of comparison.
Operators of industrial trucks and tractors had the highest risk of death at 93 fatalities per 10,000 workers. Those working in water transportation, handling marine cargo, navigational shipping services or in harbor or port relations had the second highest death rate at 54 fatalities. Those working as crane and tower operators had the third highest death rate at 37 per 10,000.
Those working in water transportation had the highest amount of injuries of all longshore workers at 326.2 per 10,000. Individuals employed as crane and tower operators were injured at a rate of 149.9 per 10,000. As for operators of industrial trucks or tractors, 120.3 per 10,000 workers were injured or became ill on the job.
The risk of injury and death that Louisiana longshore workers face greatly varies depending on the job that they're asked to perform and how well their employer enforces safety standards. An attorney can advise you if you're entitled to receive wage replacement, medical or disability benefits if you were injured while performing shipyard work.