A career in the maritime industry (whether that be working at sea or in a seaport), brings with it the opportunity for many unique challenges (which is why so many in New York City are likely drawn to it). Yet with the uniqueness of this particular career path also comes certain rules and regulations that are exclusive to the industry. Among these are the guidelines governing compensation for work-related injuries. Rather than being covered by traditional workers’ compensation benefits, maritime workers who have been injured on the job are entitled to maintenance (which helps cover everyday expenses) and cure (which offers compensation for medical bills).
Yet is the maritime industry so dangerous that those working in it need concern themselves with the details? Statistics certainly seem to suggest so. Indeed, information shared by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (specifically the Center for Maritime Safety and Health Studies), shows the rate of non-fatal injuries amongst maritime workers to be 5,015 per every 100,000 workers (which is double the average rate of the U.S. Workforce). Some of the more common injuries that maritime workers suffer include:
- Falling overboard
- Asphyxia and poisonings in enclosed spaces
- Chemical exposure and burns
- Repetitive motion injuries
- Slips and falls
Protection from such injuries should be provided by either port authorities or shipping companies.
The commercial fishing industry presents its own list of risks and dangers. This includes accidental contact with fishing equipment and injuries from overexertion. Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the injury rate among the over 31,000 commercial fisherman is 72.6 per every 10,000 workers. The common thread between injuries sustained in the maritime shipping, transportation and fishing injuries is that those who suffer them should be able expect maintenance and cure benefits to compensate them for their injury-related costs.