Maritime jobs cover a wide area of roles and functions, from fishermen, longshoremen, deckhands, pilots, stewards, cooks, and more. Each occupation in the maritime industry serves an important role in the contribution of the maritime industry, and although these occupations can be lucrative, they often come with the risk of daily accidents and injuries. While some jobs may be more dangerous than others, there is always an inherent danger when doing maritime work, regardless of job function.
The working environment of ground fishermen and lumpers make this occupation dangerous. Ground fishermen work at the bottom of rivers, lakes, and oceans, catching fish, often in harsh weather and water conditions. It’s also a strenuous job, and many ground fishermen put in long days doing strenuous, physical labor. Not only is overexertion a common cause of accidents and injuries, but trawler accidents, falling overboard, and slipping and falling remain leading causes of accidents and injuries for ground fishermen.
Lumpers are responsible for unloading heavy loads of cargo, often carrying loads of fish from vessels to docks. A lumper’s job is a difficult one, and many workers have fallen while carrying cargo, slipped on slippery gangway surfaces, and have been struck with heavy, moving objects on the docks and aboard vessels.
Maritime aviation accidents can cause life-threatening injuries, especially if the aircraft lands in the sea, breaking upon impact. The leading cause of maritime aviation accidents is instant deceleration; when this happens the pilot only has a short amount of time to make as soft of landing as possible. Soft landings, however, are extremely difficult once an aircraft decelerates, and the consequences are usually severe. Not only is the aircraft in danger of breaking apart, but the fuel tanks can explode. Head injuries are typical after maritime aviation accidents, but victims are also at risk for a myriad of other injuries including drowning, hypothermia, broken bones, burns, fractures, and even death.
Maritime electricians are responsible for making sure a complex series of electrical systems aboard vessels are running smoothly and correctly, including wiring, repairing, and operating switchboards, generators, stabilizers, fire-fighting systems, and much more. Any small mistake or malfunction in the wiring can result in devastating injuries, including shocks, loss of muscle control, and even death. When water and electrical wires come into contact, not only is the electrician at risk, but also anyone else aboard the vessel. Other seamen are at risk of accidents and injuries should they come in contact with defective equipment with broken, exposed wires and/or malfunctioning equipment.
River and bar pilots are responsible for navigating vessels through harsh, congested waters and unfamiliar areas. They typically work on pilot boats close to harbors and rivers, often enduring the risks of extremely harsh water conditions while navigating to much larger vessels. In many instances, they have to climb up to the larger vessels via ladders, in order to take control and guide the ships to safety. Not only are river and bar pilots are risk of slipping on the ladder, but also the dangers associated with guiding the vessel back to safety in adverse weather and rocky waters. Several river and bar pilots are severely injured and killed each year.
Although it may seem that vessel cooks and stewards have a lesser chance of accidents and injuries when compared to other maritime occupations, the fact is that these workers face a range of dangers. From broken galley equipment to working in unsanitary conditions, vessel cooks and stewards face a series of risks, many of which can be prevented with proper training and working equipment. Other common causes of accidents and injuries include slipping and falling, lifting heavy object, burns, and overworking.
Dangers All Maritime Workers Face
Regardless of which job function a maritime worker is responsible for, the fact remains that all seamen face the risks that come along with working on near, on, and around waters. Drowning, hypothermia, and bodily injuries are a continuous threat to maritime workers, and in many cases, these types of accidents can happen at any given moment while working aboard a vessel.
Although seamen can protect themselves by working as safely as possible, there is no way to shield themselves to things that are unknown, such as malfunctioning equipment, broken parts, and slippery surfaces; things that should have been repaired and taken care of before allowing seamen to work. Employers who fail to ensure that workers are protected may be liable for the damages that occur due to their negligent behavior.
Additional Resources and Help for Maritime Job Injuries
If you’ve been injured on the job, it’s important to seek medical treatment right away, regardless of how minor the injury may seem. In the event that your injuries were caused by employer negligence, you’ll want to make sure you have proof established of your injuries. Aside from reporting your injuries, it’s also imperative to never allow your employer or their insurance to persuade you into signing any paperwork you feel uncomfortable with, as you may signe your rights to compensation and benefits away, unbeknownst to you.
For additional information and details on maritime injuries, your rights as a maritime worker, accidents, and laws, we invite you to fill out our form today to receive a complimentary Maritime Injury information.