Working offshore carries a lot of risk but people are enticed to take the challenge anyway. Qualified individuals can earn more than twice as much as they usually do, allowing them to save money quickly and perhaps retire earlier than most. They do have to take good care of themselves because getting into an accident far from home is dangerous thing. Unfortunately, it happens quite a bit. It can be a big financial blow. The victims will require monetary assistance for their treatment, especially if they are unable to work for some time because of their injuries. Call Zehl & Associates, a Houston maritime lawyer to discuss your legal options.
Common Types of Accidents
Safety should be given attention given the difficulties of dealing with emergency situations offshore. Companies must do their best to prevent the most common types of accidents for the benefit of their workers and the entire operation. Studies show that the majority of these incidents are comprised of slips, falls, pollution, collisions, falling objects, chemical burns, fishing problems, and diving fiascos. Long-term operators know exactly what kinds of things to expect when they are out at sea. They should implement internal procedures to prevent them from happening or at least minimize the risks. A proactive stance is sorely needed in this harsh environment.
Causes of Injury
Roughly 70% of these can be traced to some form of negligence. Perhaps the employer failed to have the machines undergo regular maintenance work. This could lead to premature breakdown and compromised reliability. Workers who are in vulnerable positions might be affected by the loss of control. They might get hit by moving parts and knocked over to the ground. Maybe the machine already has a bad record yet the employer keeps insisting that it be used for certain tasks without making any repairs. They would then be liable for the accident due to their negligence. They should provide compensation for the victims.
Some incidents happen because of poor working conditions inside a ship. Perhaps the seamen are on duty day and night due to the shortage of manpower. Fatigue and sleeplessness will eventually set in. Their mental faculties will be impaired making their reaction time slower and their decision-making questionable. When something happens, they may not be able to act in time to save themselves. A simple chore such as going down a stairwell for inspection might lead to a slip and broken bones. In this case, the employer can be sued because of their hand in the matter. Workers must be allowed to take breaks and rest for a reasonable period in order function well.
A lot of accidents might have been prevented if only the workers are wearing proper safety gear. For instance, spaces where there are debris that might fall over head should be off-limits to individuals who are not wearing a protective head gear. Helmets is a must many applications given the danger posed by any blow to the head. Other forms of safety equipment should be made available as needed. For instance, those who are tasked to climb high towers should have a harness, a sturdy rope, and other climbing gear to prevent them from falling. They should also have adequate training on how to use each piece of equipment.
All potential causes of accidents should also be periodically inspected. Issued found must be resolved as soon as possible. An example would be enclosed spaces where people might get stuck for a long time. These should have adequate ventilation to prevent workers from having difficulty breathing or passing out. Perennially wet areas should always be kept clean and dry by an appointed person to prevent slippage. If the moisture comes from a manageable source, then this should be looked into. Perhaps there is a leak that can be closed or a valve that can be tightened. All these little things can add up towards having a safer offshore work space.
The Jones Act
In case something does go wrong, the Jones Act provides guidelines on how to deal with the situation. It enumerates the rights of offshore workers including the damages that they can sue for. Those responsible can be held accountable even if the incident did not happen within the country’s boundaries. All of the causes of injury stated above demonstrate employer liability. They have the obligation to protect their workers while these are performing their jobs on the vessel and this means providing them with a safe environment in which they can thrive. They should pay compensation for their negligence according to the law.
Talk to a Houston offshore injury lawyer to discuss the types of compensation you deserve. Do this immediately before the statute of limitations prevent you from ever pursuing a case against your employer. Do not be afraid of this move as it is a legal remedy designed to protect you and your rights at sea. Working offshore is always hard but it should not end in an accident. Do not sign any papers releasing the employer from any liability in return for financial help. You are likely to be entitled to much more than what they are offering.
Workers are also legally entitled to maintenance and cure benefits if they get injured. These benefits must be provided while they are recuperating to cover their medical bills and daily living expenses. They should be given without any questions by the employer. It does not matter how the incident transpired or who the guilty party is. This is a right enjoyed by seamen according to the law. Learn more about these benefits and the financial compensation that you can look forward to by setting up a meeting with a Houston offshore injury lawyer as soon as possible.