Service on the water has always come with risks, from dealing with unusual equipment to getting washed overboard. That does not stop dedicated workers from keeping shipping, fishing and resource extraction operations running to fuel and feed the country. And the federal government has taken steps to help the people who get this vital work done.
Have you known someone who took a full-time job just for the health benefits? Have you been that person? Some people aren't cut out for office work, but they take it so they can afford a trip to the doctor. Fortunately, when it comes to workers on the water, they have certain guarantees regardless of their employer.
Workers struggled in Louisiana and other parts of the United States for the right protections to help them do their best work and contribute to the economy. Now, workers' compensation laws are as secure as the ground under work boots. But what if there is no ground under those boots?
A life at sea is a difficult one, but many people take to it for the opportunities that the water affords. Even more laborers support marine commerce, fishing and other vital industries with work in shipyards, on docks or on stationary platforms offshore. There are enough hoops to jump through to keep a maritime work life safe without the difficulties of getting care after illness or injury.
If you work in a shipyard or a harbor or you're a longshore worker, then you were likely taught about the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Act (LHWCA) when you were first trained for your job. They might not have gone into great detail about what it is and who's eligible for protection under it though.
Underwater welders earn top salaries due in large part to the enormous risks they face carrying out their tasks. Whether they work from oil rigs, ships or on pipelines, their work can take them out to sea for weeks or even months at a time.
When people hear about how much longshore workers get paid, they often want to know how to get their hands on such a job. They quickly realize that landing a longshore job isn't just competitive though. It doesn't take long after they start working that they realize that it's dangerous too.
Most workers in the United States are eligible for workers' compensation in the event they become injured. However, the law becomes more complicated when it comes to those who work in the maritime industry, including longshore and harbor workers.
If you are considering a career as a longshoreman or harbor worker you need to consider the risks that are associated with these careers. Working on docks and on ships in Louisiana can be exciting. These professions are definitely different than working in an office for eight or more hours per day, but they are also very dangerous jobs. Let's take a look at the risks these workers face on a daily basis.
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.