Situated on the southern end of the Puget Sound, Olympia, Washington serves as a major part of the maritime industry. The Port of Olympia, located on 60 acres, offers a cargoes yard, three berths, a United States customs warehouse, and a foreign trade zone in which outbound foreign goods are stored without import duty fees. The large amount of maritime work in Olympia, however, makes it a prevalent area for a myriad of injuries and accidents. Although risks and accidents are a part of working aboard vessels and at sea, the unfortunate fact is that many of these incidents could have been avoided if seamen were provided with safe working conditions.
Common Maritime Jobs in Olympia
According to a Port of Olympia 2013 study, the maritime service sector’s most common jobs include:
- Cargo-related jobs
- Maritime technicians and repairmen
- Maritime engineers
- Crane and cargo operators
- Dredge workers
Maritime Accidents in Olympia
With the sheer amount of maritime activity in Olympia, accidents happen often. However, as mentioned earlier, many of these accidents and injuries could have been prevented with the proper working conditions. Some examples include:
A man working for a dredging company at the Port of Olympia was injured in early 2014 when the dredging bucket shifted while he was in the process of dredging. As a result, the bucket smashed into him, causing severe injuries. The accident is currently under investigation, yet pollutants that were not covered up may have led to the injury.
In another serious maritime accident in Olympia, a fisherman was killed in an onshore accident. The death was proven to be caused by employer negligence, and in turn, under the victim’s loved ones received a settlement amount of $750,000.
In a related case, another fisherman suffered extreme back injuries after an unsecured crane fell from the vessel he was on. Consequently, he received a $300,000 settlement amount. Sadly, crane accidents, which can cause severe injuries, have been prevalent in Olympia, and could have been prevented had the cranes been properly inspected and repaired. Common reasons for crane failure include:
- Improper welding
- Using unauthorized electrical parts
- Defective and/or broken lifting straps
- Poor design
Legal Resources in Olympia
If you or a loved one suffered injuries while on the job, it’s important remember that there are maritime laws in place to protect you. If the cause of your injuries were the result of a negligent employer, you may be able to claim compensation under the Jones Act. Along with maintenance and cure, you may be entitled to numerous other damages for pain, suffering, rehabilitation, and more.
In addition, aside from an accident report, never sign any paperwork after an injury that you are unsure of before consulting with an experienced Olympia maritime attorney beforehand.
For more information on your legal rights as a seaman and what you qualify for, see our article Maritime Rights and Compensation.