Individuals who work in the maritime fields of shipping, transportation, commercial fishing, marine construction or in offshore gas and oil industry are trained to always put safety first. They're taught to do this for a reason. These individuals are at an increased risk of becoming ill, injured or killed by bloodborne pathogens, high voltage, hazardous chemicals, heavy machinery, slips and falls and drowning.
Despite being taught to be safe, maritime workers have some of the highest rates of both nonfatal and fatal injuries of all workers.
For example, one piece of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows commercial fishers have the second-highest on-the-job fatality rates of any worker. Data published by the federal agency in 2015 showed that 80 per 100,000 commercial fishers die on average each year while on-the-job. Logging is the only career in which more people die.
The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) is often first on the scene to many of these deadly incidents. They often find that few operators or owners of commercial vessels have proper federal or Louisiana state operating permits. Even fewer of them have an active USCG vessel safety certification.
Many also tend not to have required the emergency response or life-saving equipment on board. Even if they do, they find that employees often aren't trained on how to use it. It's while looking into these incidents that the USCG frequently finds that vessel owners or operators rarely maintain adequate logs of incidents that occur.
The use of an environmental health and safety (EHS) management system can greatly aid ship owners and operators in making sure that their certifications and permits are compliant and that incidents are properly tracked. This type of system can also help them keep track of hazardous chemical safety data sheets, employee training, required regulatory audits and safety inspections and drills.
Shipowners that don't have an EHS management system in place risk being assessed expensive penalties and fines if they're found to be in noncompliance with existing regulations. They also put the safety of their crews at risk. If you're a Louisiana worker that's been hurt in at sea, then it's imperative that you choose the right attorney who can help you understand your right to compensation.