Cruise Ship Crew Members: On-the-Job Risks and Options for Work-Related Injuries
When you take a job—any job, anywhere—you expect the working environment to be safe.
Unfortunately, as many cruise ship workers can attest, this expectation isn’t always fulfilled. Although sailing around the world, visiting exotic locations, and working on the open sea may seem like a dream job, it doesn’t come without hazards. In addition to the potential risks of sea life—which can cause injury to both passenger and crew alike—workers face additional dangers that come with the job.
Crews’ Risks on Cruise Ships
Cruise ship employees work very hard, and in dangerous situations. It is their duty to ensure that all of the mechanical, electronic, and navigational systems are working perfectly to protect the voyage and its passengers. However, maintaining a safe ship can be hazardous; it involves working long hours in proximity to dangerous machinery.
Furthermore, if a crew member suffers a serious injury, he must rely on the limited medical resources on board. The cruise ship likely has its own infirmary and medical team for minor crew and passenger injuries, but it can only do so much for severe wounds.
Unfortunately, as a result of their work environment, crew members are highly susceptible to suffering severe accidents and health risks, including the following:
- Soft tissue or back-related injuries. Some crew members are expected to perform heavy labor that is quite hard on the body. Lifting weighty materials such as luggage and laundry; bending over to clean the deck; squatting down to repair machinery; or performing any similar task can result in sprains, strains, fractures, and spinal disc damage.
- Burns. Working on water doesn’t eliminate the threat of fire. Explosions, steam injuries, and kitchen fires are all possible instigators of crew member burn injuries.
- Exposure to the norovirus or other illnesses. Food-borne illnesses have become a common occurrence on cruise ships. Not only are the passengers exposed to these illnesses, but crew members are, as well. Sickness can range from mild to severe, and can become life-threatening, particularly if you are exposed to the norovirus.
Cruise Line Liability
Cruise ship employers can fail their staff in many ways. If you’re a cruise crew member, the company that employs you could be held responsible for severe accident injuries if it can be proven to have been negligent. Negligence can be:
- A failure to follow or enforce safety measures.
- A failure to take precautions in poor weather conditions.
- A failure to train you and the staff properly on safety protocols.
- A failure to provide you with adequate protective clothing, gear, or equipment.
- A failure to secure a safe working environment by allowing an unseaworthy vessel to operate.
If your injuries have been caused by your employer’s negligence, you may be eligible to receive compensation.
Pursuing an Injury Case
Understanding your true rights can get a little tricky as a cruise ship worker, so if you are injured on the job, do not try to navigate the situation on your own. Contact an experienced maritime and offshore lawyer and let him evaluate your case to determine the best course of action. Maritime law can get complicated, and you need to make sure you receive the full compensation you deserve.
Attorney Steve Lee can help you understand your rights while securing witness statements, filing all of the necessary paperwork, and pursuing legal action for you against your employer. He can also counsel you in how to:
- Alert your employer. Inform your employer immediately about your injuries and tell the doctor you were hurt on the job.
- Take pictures. If possible, return to the site of the accident and take pictures of the dangerous conditions. Time is of the essence here, as your boss may attempt to fix the hazard to protect himself should an investigation arise.
- Build a strong case. You don’t have to accept a poor offer from your employer’s insurance company. When your employer has failed to protect you, Steve Lee is here to pick up where he left off. Contact us today by filling out our online form or by calling us directly at 800-232-3711 to learn more about securing evidence and drafting a solid injury claim.