Although Detroit is well-known as an automobile industry center, its large seaport, the Port of Detroit, also establishes the city as a thriving source of over 5,000 jobs. Situated along the western side of the Detroit River, it also serves as the largest port in the state, with services that include cargo handling, commercial fishing, and more. Along with bulk cargo, the port’s terminals handle cement, liquid, passengers, steel, coal, and its largest commodity, ore. Maritime workers who are employed in Detroit range from fishermen, longshoremen, mechanics, deckhands, painters, and much more. Similar to other major cities with a large maritime presence, Detroit has its fair share of accidents and injuries, which is not uncommon in the maritime sector. However, many of these injuries could have been prevented with the proper safety training and safe working conditions.
Examples of Maritime Accidents in Detroit
One the most important ways to ensure safety is to make sure that maritime workers are trained to watch out for others, especially when operating heavy machinery. For example, in November of 2013, a Port of Detroit employee was ran over and killed by a forklift operator. The 62-year-old victim was trying to help direct the forklift when the operator lost sight of him.
Although the incident was considered an accident, in many instances, lack of safety training and precautions are the typical culprit of such devastating injuries. In fact, failure to provide adequate training is a widespread problem, not just in Detroit, but nationwide. When accidents occur due to lack of training, the results can be catastrophic.
Another example of accidents caused by improper training is conveyor belt mishaps while aboard fishing vessels. Seamen leaning too far over, wearing loose clothing around moving conveyor belts, and/or moving underneath conveyor belts can cause life-threatening injuries. According to the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, anyone who works around conveyor belts should be properly trained beforehand not only regarding general safety, but also on how to safely operate and work around the type of conveyor belts they will be be using. In the maritime industry alone, there are different types of conveyor belts ranging from small to large and permanent to portable.
Employer Negligence in Detroit
If you’ve been injured on the job Detroit, keep in mind that you may be eligible for damages under the Jones Act and general maritime law. As mentioned earlier, you have the right to work in safe conditions as well as the right to be afforded proper training. In addition, regardless of how the accident was caused, all seamen are eligible for maintenance and cure benefits. If you feel your rights have been violated and that you were injured due to the negligence and carelessness of another party, consider seeking experienced maritime industry legal representation.
For additional resources on what you may be entitled to, refer to our article Maritime Rights and Compensation.