Q: What are plate freezer accidents?
Commercial fishermen are often at sea for weeks or months at a time, making preservation of their catches a real challenge. Freezers aboard fishing vessels are essential for keeping seafood fresh, but plate freezer accidents can cause serious maritime worker injuries.
Plate freezers are used to quickly freeze and store flat seafood products, such as fish fillets. They’re called plate freezers since they consist of several plates, stacked either horizontally or vertically.
These plates have channels running through them, carrying refrigerant that keeps temperatures as low as 30 degrees below zero. Fish are placed between the plates, which press together to freeze the seafood quickly.
Plate Freezer Risks
There are several risks stemming from plate freezer use, including:
- Refrigerant leaks. If refrigerant gas leaks from these freezers, it causes serious injuries. These ammonia leaks may damage the lungs and airways, create chemical burns on exposed skin, and trigger temporary or permanent blindness.
- Repetitive motion injuries. Loading and unloading plate freezers require workers to perform many lifting, turning, and twisting movements. These repetitive motions can damage muscles and ligaments, particularly when crew members are rushed or exhausted.
- Struck-by injuries. If a vessel is caught in rough waters during seafood processing, a metal pan filled with frozen fish can suddenly eject from the freezer unit. These pans, which often weigh up to 30 pounds, may strike any crew members in their path. Resulting injuries include bruises, lacerations, head injuries, and bone fractures.
If you were injured in a plate freezer accident, the Jones Act entitles you to receive maintenance and cure benefits to cover any medical expenses and rehabilitative services related to your incident.
You need a skilled maritime injury attorney to help you receive the benefits you deserve. To learn more about what the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., can do for you, visit us on Facebook.