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Falling accidents do not always happen above deck

On Behalf of | Jun 9, 2016 | Jones Act

If you are like other people in New York City, you may have decided to pursue a career at sea. The rolling ocean waves, the salty air and ability to travel to foreign places are big allures but there are also a lot of risks for injury. Here at Tabak Mellusi & Shisha LLP, we know that a sudden accident can end your dream of sailing the high seas and that not all accidents occur above deck.

According to Gard insurance, even tasks within a ship’s enclosed spaces, including tanks, can easily become the scene of a workplace accident, especially if ship operators and owners fail to take preventative steps to protect you. Falls are a big problem, since most companies do not really think about the possibility. One seaman lost his life when he fell inside a tank. The cause was an open maintenance access in the stringer plate, which was not secured before he climbed down the first ladder.

It is important that inspections are made before work on tanks or other spaces below deck is begun to identify any hazards that exist. These hazards could include the following:

  •          Pipes
  •          Slippery surfaces on ladder rungs, surfaces and decks
  •          Structural arrangement that poses a risk of injury
  •          Tight hatchways

If hazards are found, you, as a worker, should be provided personal gear like a safety harness, hard helmet, gloves or other items; temporary handrails should be installed so that you have something to grab if you start losing your balance; markings should be placed to warn you of a dangerous area; and extra lighting should be brought in or installed so that you can see what you are doing in the space. For more information on the risks seamen face, please visit our web page.