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New York Maritime Law Blog

Dangers that exist in working alongside shipping containers

Being a dock or shipyard worker can be hard and demanding work. It can also be dangerous. Not properly stacking shipping containers can result in very serious, and in some cases, fatal injuries.

Not all companies practice forklift safety guideline protocols as outlined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). There are companies out there that offer an online certification course in proper forklift usage that is 100% OSHA-approved.

What are the dangers that ship's engine room workers face?

Of all the roles that you can hold on a ship, working in a boiler room is one of the riskier jobs. The high temperatures and pressure systems in a ship's engine room can make for a hazardous work environment. Accidents may happen even you implement the best safety and precaution measures in the ship's boiler room.

Some types of boiler room accidents are more common than others. A ship's crankcase may explode, which can cause devastating consequences for those who work in its vicinity. One of the worst aspects of crankcases is that they contain small oil-based microparticles. Any worker who comes in contact with hotspots can cause a flame to ignite out-of-control.

How safe is it to ride or work on ferries?

Many individuals use ferries to get from where they live to their Manhattan job every day. Product distributors or logistics companies also use ferries to transport vehicles and other types of cargo, goods and materials between ports. While many of these everyday occurrences go off without a hitch, there are instances in which unfortunate accidents occur, and either passengers or workers get hurt. Individuals may sue for compensation for their injuries or loss in cases like these.

Whether a ferry accident results in passengers getting hurt or killed may hinge on how well-equipped that the crew is to deal with issues if such a disaster happens. The ship's ownership must have worked out a medical or rescue response plan that crew members are trained on and can implement quickly should the need arise.

12 nations seek resolution to stranded seafarers’ crisis

Officials from 12 countries including the U.S. requested urgent worldwide action in resolving the humanitarian crisis of the 200,000 seafarers stranded at sea because crew changes are impossible due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During a virtual gathering of the International Maritime Summit of Crew Changes on July 9, the representatives from the 12 countries expressed concerns over ship operators’ challenges in conducting safe and necessary crew changes. Many of the seafarers have been at sea for more than a year and are battling fatigue and mental illness.

What makes small boats particularly dangerous?

Small boats can be fun for many but dangerous as well. U.S. Army data shows that more than 80% of all boating fatalities occur in boats that are less than 26 feet long. Individuals who skipper smaller boats generally have limited boating experience and aren't very familiar with standard boating safety precaution procedures.

Many times boating accidents occur because the operators do not believe the rules of operating a motor vehicle apply to the water. They may be under the influence, operate the boat at an excessive speed or use it recklessly.

COVID-19 strands thousands of seafarers

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to significant drops in cargo volume at places such as the Port of New York and New Jersey, leading to many longshoremen being out of work. But not only has this global health crisis affected these workers, but also the 200,000 seafarers stranded at sea.

While out-of-work employees ashore struggle with how they can provide for their families, their counterparts stranded aboard ships battle other nemeses: fatigue and mental illness. What can do that? Months without a break because shipping companies cannot bring in replacement crews and being at sea for more than a year. Such developments bring safety issues to the forefront. The risk of serious injury surfaces for any overworked and tired employee.

Explore the benefits available through the Longshore Act

Longshoremen and harbor workers provide valuable services to New York and Manhattan residents by ensuring a steady supply of goods. It is excellent work with good pay, but maritime industries in general are filled with risks.

Those working in harbors, on docks and at sea face many hazards each day. When an accident impacts a worker's ability to continue earning, the Longshore Act can offer financial relief, ensuring the ability to make ends meet during recovery.

Loss of limb remains a hazard in commercial fishing industry

Commercial fishermen work in one of the country’s most dangerous industries. And anyone who has toiled aboard a fishing vessel can vouch for that while sharing and comparing stories about some of the injuries they sustained.

There are the common injuries to the shoulder, lower back, wrist and neck along with others due to repetitive motion. And there are the more serious ones such as traumatic head injury, fractures and loss of limb. Any of these serious injuries can lead to the end of a career as a commercial fisherman and affect you for the rest of your life. The loss of a limb is a brutal reminder of an accident that changed your life.

Seldom highlighted reasons why boating accidents occur

Most individuals who hear about a boat accident may think about either intoxicated or inexperienced skippers recklessly operating their water vessels. Other factors are seldom spoken about but are often to blame for some of the most severe boating accidents.

The United States Coast Guard data shows that factors such as boats running out of gas, sinking, running aground and breaking down are often to blame for accidents. Boaters who fail to keep an adequate lookout and don't equip their boats with proper safety gear are also at an increased risk of accidents. Fires and falls overboard are often to blame for catastrophic outcomes as well.

What you can do if your maintenance and cure was ended too soon

Many state and federal laws, including workers' compensation coverage, protect workers if they get hurt on the job. What about seamen and others who work in New York's navigable waters, though? If you hold one of these jobs, then you may wonder what types of protections take care of you if you suffer injuries while at work. You may qualify for maintenance and cure benefits.

Shipowners must pay maintenance and cure benefits to any seaman who becomes injured on the job, no matter if it's their fault or someone else's. These workers can receive both necessary and reasonable medical treatment from their employer as part of maintenance and cure. Seamen may also receive a daily living allowance to cover their expenses while they're out of work.

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