Working on a tugboat in New York Harbor presents unique challenges and hazards, as these vessels are designed to push or pull other vessels from place to place. Equipment and duties on a tugboat may put seamen at risk in cases of negligence, such as improperly performed maintenance or inadequate training for the jobs at hand.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulates workplace safety for New York seamen in the maritime industry, as well as employees who work on land. Not only does this include preventing injuries, OSHA also has hazard communication rules that require employers to protect workers from chemical exposure. One of these that is mentioned specifically in relation to the maritime industry is chromium.
Any New Yorker who is injured on the job should have some recourse for receiving compensation to cover medical expenses and lost wages. However, the workers’ compensation laws that apply to employers in the state are not the same as those that apply to maritime employers. According to the U.S. District Court for the Ninth Circuit, a seaman who sustains an injury because of the employer’s negligence may be eligible to file a Jones Act claim.