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Maritime workers’ comp is changing thanks to wind power

Louisiana is well-known for its extensive coastline. Plenty of people in the state work in industries related to the water, like transportation, commercial fishing and shipping. One fast-growing maritime industry in Louisiana is wind power. Wind farms are springing up near coastlines across the U.S. The work required for any trade on the water is dangerous. That’s why many protections for these workers are enshrined in law.

A booming industry

Offshore wind power is a fast-growing industry. There aren’t just jobs in building and maintaining wind turbines. The industry spreads to transportation hubs, which are required for moving the materials, and construction needs, which includes housing for workers.

At the moment, it’s not exactly clear which laws protect the workers in the offshore wind power industry. Maritime law can be complicated. The two major laws governing workers’ compensation for maritime accidents are the Jones Act and the LHWCA. It can sometimes be difficult to figure out which accidents are covered by which law.

The Jones Act protects people who work on the sea. For wind power workers, this means it would likely cover things like transit to and from offshore turbines and construction sites. The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, or LHWCA, covers workers on the water or adjacent to it for loading, unloading goods. Building and dismantling ships and other vessels are also covered by the act.

Because the wind power boom is so new, it’s not exactly clear how the courts will interpret these established laws. On the water and at the waterfront, workers often perform some very dangerous tasks. A maritime worker who has been hurt on the job may want to partner with a lawyer to learn more about their rights.