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Shipyard workers have options after an injury

The statistics show that working at shipyards constructing, scrapping and fixing up ships and boats have a very hazardous job.

Shipyard workers are often exposed to hazardous substances that can cause illnesses, including chemicals like asbestos or fuel. They also have to deal with very hot objects and equipment and may have to hold a strained posture.

Repetitive motion injuries are also too common, as are falls from heights. Many times, a shipyard who falls also risks drowning in the harbor below them.

On the whole, workers in shipyards have a higher rate of fatal injuries than do workers in other sectors. Even more concerningly, they suffer injuries at about twice the rate as do workers in other industries.

Shipyard owners and operators must follow safety standards

No matter the size of the shipyard or boat yard, the owner and operator have an obligation to follow detailed safety standards.

These standards recognize that these workers face many risks in a typical workday and rightly make an employer responsible for mitigating these risks.

Unfortunately, too many employers, whether from the top on down or because of a few middle managers who are bad apples, do not pay careful attention to these rules and may even try to get around them in an effort to boost productivity.

In other cases, an accident may happen despite everyone’s best efforts to avoid it.

Workers in shipyards have important legal rights under federal maritime law. For example, an injured worker may have a claim under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act for reimbursement of medical bills and recovery of some lost wages.