Preventing Falls in the Maritime Industry

In New Zealand, a cargo-handler was recently injured at the Port of Lyttelton when he fell while working on a vessel. In the United Kingdom, Pendennis Shipyard Ltd. was recently fined thousands of pounds after an apprentice fell approximately two meters from improperly secured scaffolding and injured his knees. And just last month, a man was seriously injured in Newmarket, N.H., when he fell about 15 feet from a pier onto pilings in shallow water while helping to install docks for a private marina.

Maritime employers should take all necessary precautions to prevent workplace falls and minimize fall-related injuries. Such precautions might include:

  • Providing proper fall protection and  safety equipment
  • Providing and maintaining proper railings and/or sidings of vessels of the required and/or sufficient height to protect the crew
  • Installing nets or rails where falls are likely to occur
  • Providing employees with personal fall arrest systems
  • Barricading or covering openings
  • Properly trimming,  rigging, maintaining and placement of gangways
  • Training employees in the safe use of ladders
  • Removing tripping and spill  hazards
  • Providing employees with safe access to vessels and cargo areas
  • Properly securing scaffolding
  • Properly maintaining equipment
  • Adequately training employees in safe practices

When a maritime worker gets hurt on the job, he or she may be entitled to compensation under one or more maritime statutes, such as the Jones Act, the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act, or maintenance and cure laws. Maritime laws are very complex and have certain statutes of limitations, making it important for injured maritime workers to contact an experienced maritime attorney as soon as possible. Without a maritime attorney, an injured worker may not receive the full amount of compensation to which he or she is entitled.

Have you fallen at work? Contact a Boston maritime attorney today to find out what compensation might be available for your fall-related injuries.

Latti & Anderson LLP – Boston maritime trial lawyers