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Maritime Safety Hazards

Legal Advice

Maritime Safety Hazards

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The maritime industry provides numerous employment opportunities for many people. Vessel crew members comprise people with different skills and play various roles, including storekeeping, preparing meals, technicians, medical personnel, and engineers. Working onboard water vessels has its fair share of risks that can cause severe injuries and even fatalities.

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Causes of Maritime Accidents

Maritime occurrences refer to any accidents that take place onboard marine vessels and off-shore on marine terminals. These accidents occur as a result of various factors including;

  • Fatigue

Crew members and workers on board sea vessels work for long hours. Additionally, most of the work is labour-intensive, involving lots of lifting and moving things around.  An exhausted worker has an impaired level of awareness and is at a higher risk of injuries to self and third parties.

  • Inadequate Training

Without proper training, workers may lack a clear understanding of machine operation and be unaware of any risks associated with their work.  This lack of awareness is a ticking time bomb for crew members operating without basic training.

  • Substance Abuse

Alcohol and drug-related intoxication are a leading cause of maritime accidents. Drunk crew members lack precision in their operations and may have a dampened awareness level, exposing themselves and other players on board a vessel to danger.

  • Faulty Equipment

Faulty tools and machines expose seamen to serious bodily harm and even death in some cases. For instance, defective cranes can snap mid-air and drop heavy loads at crew members.

  • Careless Operation

Sometimes, accidents at sea are as a result of the negligence of people on board sea vessels. For instance, working on elevated parts of a vessel without the required PPE can lead to fatal injuries in case of a fall.

Common Sea Accidents

There is no shortage of accidents on board sea vessels, and some of the prevalent maritime accidents include:

  • Slips and Falls

Slips and falls are frequent occurrences due to various factors, including greasy surfaces, excess moisture and general carelessness.

  • Lifting Accidents

Lifting accidents can occur as a result of wrong lifting procedures or faulty lifting equipment.

  • Injury from Falling Objects

Falling objects pose a considerable risk to crew members and workers on maritime vessels.

  • Burns and Explosions

Faulty apparatus like generators onboard can explode and result in explosions and fire that cause serious burns and account for many maritime fatalities.

Aspects of Maritime Law

The law has various provisions, separate from normal on land accidents, to address maritime accidents and protect sea workers from hazardous work conditions and address compensation matters. Some of these provisions include:

Maintenance and Cure

Maintenance and Cure refer to the benefits that injured seamen are entitled to receive, regardless of the cause of the accident. Maintenance caters for basic household expenses like rent, while Cure caters to the medical costs incurred.

The Jones Act Negligence 

This law empowers seamen to sue employers for injuries caused by unsafe areas or conditions on a sea vessel. In the Houston area, you can seek the services of a Houston maritime lawyer to follow up and prove negligence.

The Longshore Act

The Longshore Act is legislation enacted to protect sea workers’ rights and ensure they receive compensation for injuries or disabilities in their line of duty on USA’S navigable waters.