The work being done by those employed at the docks of Manhattan and the rest of the U.S. is vital to the country’s economic well-being. It is also recognized as having several inherent risks. Thus, federal laws such as a the Longshore Act have been enacted to protect you and others engaged in such work. The Longshore Act specifically offers financial assistance to help deal with the expenses related to your dockside injury. Yet one important element to understand prior to planning on receiving such assistance is whether you qualify for it at all.
Per the Department of Labor, the Longshore Act covers those working upon the navigable waters of the United States as well as those who load and unload cargo, or who work repairing or constructing vessels. Not everyone, however, working on a dock may be covered under this law. The Act itself specifically excludes the following parties:
- Employees of clubs, camps, museums, restaurants, recreational outfits or retailers
- Marina employees not specifically engaged in the construction or maintenance of the marina
- Aquaculture workers
- Employees who build, repair or maintain recreational vessels or vessels less than 65 feet in length
- Individuals employed by shipping companies to perform data processing and security or secretarial or clerical work
If you are the master of vessel or a member of its crew (or one employed by the master to unload cargo loads less than 18 net tons), you are also not covered by the Longshore Act. The same is true if you are performing dock work yet such work is not a normal function of your job.
Not to worry; if you are not covered under the Longshore Act, your dockside injury may still be covered by standard workers’ compensation requirements or provisions of other federal laws (such as the Jones Act).