It is believed by many that deckhands on ships in New York and all over the world tend to have the most dangerous job because they are constantly at risk of suffering an injury while on the job. From slips and falls on deck to drowning due to a rogue wave, it's these instantaneous injuries we think of when we consider the danger longshore and fishing jobs present.
But did you know that just like workers on land, deckhands may also suffer from repetitive stress injuries? And just like their counterparts on land, deckhands have the right to compensation for their work-related injuries. Let's take a look.
How repetitive stress injuries occur
Repetitive stress injuries, or RSIs, are caused by the repetitive overuse of muscles, tendons and nerves to do a job. Examples of repetitive use include repeatedly pulling up lobster pots, daily lifting of heavy equipment and supplies, and cutting and cleaning fish over and over again. RSIs oftentimes take time to develop and can get worse over time, eventually even forcing a deckhand out of work if the injury is not addressed quickly and appropriately.
Seeking compensation for injuries
Just as is the case with instantaneous injuries, longshore and boat workers may receive compensation for injuries that take time to develop, such as with RSIs. To make a claim for compensation, an injured deckhand should report the injury as soon as it becomes apparent. The deckhand then has one year in which to file a claim, per the rules of the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act. In some cases, it may be necessary to seek help from a lawyer well-versed in maritime and admiralty law, particularly if there is a dispute about how an injury occurred or if the injured deckhand is receiving pushback from their employer.