Is Indoor Air Pollution Hurting Maritime Workers?

Indoor air pollution may be two to five times (and in some cases as much as 100 times) more dangerous to people than outdoor air pollution, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Unfortunately, according to a recent article in Professional Mariner, maritime workers are the victims of indoor air pollution more often than one might think. While the public might imagine life on the sea involves spending most of your time outside breathing fresh ocean air, those within the maritime industry know that it is actually the opposite. Maritime workers spend the majority of their time indoors doing the following:

  • Working in the wheelhouse
  • Sleeping in their staterooms
  • Working in the galley
  • Working in the engine room

As a result of the above activities, in addition to others, maritime workers can for weeks or months spend over 12 hours a day, seven days a week indoors. That means that if employers are not maintaining the air quality on vessels, they could be exposing their employees to indoor air pollution-related illnesses and injuries, including:

  • Eye, nose and throat irritation
  • Sinus problems
  • Headaches
  • Chronic cough
  • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis
  • Asthma
  • Legionnaires’ disease

In addition to costing seamen physically, indoor air pollution can cost them financially. According to a 1989 EPA report, indoor air pollution could be costing Americans about $60 billion per year in lost productivity and $6 billion a year in medical expenses.

Who Can I Call If I Was Exposed to Indoor Air Pollution While Working on a Ship? 

Even if you only suspect you could have been injured while working on a vessel, or if you do not believe you will need a lawyer because your employers have said they will compensate you, you should talk to a maritime attorney so you know your rights and what you’re entitled to receive.

As maritime trial lawyer Carolyn Latti explains in the video above, following any type of on-the-water accident or injury, it is very important that you speak to an attorney, many of whom will meet with you confidentially and free of charge.

Latti & Anderson LLP Nationwide Maritime Attorneys