Many in Manhattan may perceive a career in the maritime industry to be filled with intrigue and adventure. What they may not know is that such work is also very dangerous. The unpredictability of the world's oceans and seas often put those who work on such waters at risk. Fortunately, maritime workers are protected from having to bear the brunt of expenses that may arise from workplace accidents by the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act.
According to the Cornell Law School, the LHWCA covers those who work for employers that operate "upon the navigable waters of the United States (including any adjoining pier, wharf, dry dock, terminal, building way, marine railway, or other adjoining area customarily used by an employer in loading, unloading, repairing, or building a vessel)." Yet since the enactment of this law, cases have arisen that have pointed out coverage gaps that may leave certain workers exposed.
To eliminate these gaps, extensions have been added to this law to expand its reach. Per the U.S. Department of Labor, these include:
- The Defense Base Act
- The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act
- The Non-Appropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act
The DBA is by far the most extensive of these extensions, covering employees that work on U.S. military bases and installations, on public contracts administered by the U.S. government, or on contracts approved under the Foreign Assistance Act, or for those working in foreign lands for the benefit of the U.S. Armed Services. The OCSLA covers those working on the outer continental shelf of the U.S. to develop and/or recover natural resources. Finally, the NAFIA covers civilian employees working for military instrumentalities whose funding is non-appropriated.