Injury Risks for Dredging Workers
A dredge is a vessel fitted with a device that scrapes or sucks the seabed to remove silt, dirt, and rocks. The process of dredging waterways is crucial to the success of the maritime industry. Many rivers, inlets, and shallow coastal waters must be dredged periodically to allow large ships to navigate them safely.
Dredging requires the use of heavy machinery such as cranes, grabbers, and buckets. Tragically, workers using this equipment sometimes suffer serious injuries—even death.
Common Dredging Accident Causes
Typical causes of dredging accidents include:
- High pressure system failures. Dredges sometimes use high-pressure water to carve a path through river sediment to allow boats to travel through safely. Unfortunately, these hydraulic systems often endanger the safety of crew members when they aren’t properly maintained. Broken hoses and shut-off valves can seriously harm workers. Water from high-pressure jets causes bruises, broken bones, and scalded skin.
- Pipeline breakages. Pneumatic and suction dredges use tubes and vacuums to move sediment from the bottom of a body of water to a storage tank aboard the vessel. Unfortunately, these tubes become clogged or blocked due to poor maintenance, and loosening these blockages may cause crush injuries to dredge workers’ arms and hands.
- Improperly-trained crew. Dredges have many complicated moving parts, and these components must be used properly in order to avoid injury or damage. If employees aren’t trained to use the tools and equipment aboard the vessel safely, serious injuries may occur.
If you’ve been injured while working as a crew member aboard a dredging vessel, you’re entitled to compensation. Depending on the circumstances of your injury, you may qualify for damages under the Jones Act or the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.
These cases are often complex, requiring the expertise of a qualified maritime law attorney. To learn more about what the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., can do for you, visit us on Facebook.