If you get injured on or near a waterway, you need to know exactly what rights you have. To some degree, these are covered by the Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, or the LHWCA. Are you covered by this act?
The first thing you should know is that the Act is aimed at people who work in “traditional maritime occupations,” per the U.S. Department of Labor. As examples, the DOL lists:
- Longshore workers
- Ship repairers
- Ship breakers
- Harbor construction workers
Furthermore, the DOL notes that workers are only covered if they get hurt during their employment on or near “navigable waters of the United States.” They also note that injuries can happen in the adjoining areas close to those waters, which could include:
- Loading areas
- Unloading areas
Essentially, the Act is designed to expand its range to areas that workers frequent that, while technically not part of the waterways themselves, are necessary to use in the course of their employment. Workers should not be denied coverage simply because they stepped off a ship and onto a dock.
It is also worth noting that the Act sometimes extends to nonmaritime employees under specific circumstances. They can get coverage if their work takes them onto a navigable body of water and they suffer their injuries in that location.
Did you get hurt while working on or near one of these waterways? Are you interested in all of your rights to compensation? Make sure you know exactly what the LHWCA does and what steps you need to take.