Serious Injuries From Maritime Slip, Trip, and Fall Accidents
When you think about the risks involved with maritime work, slips and falls don’t generally blip on your radar. In fact, many seamen worry more about the possibilities of explosions and capsizing than anything else. However, although such dramatic accidents do occur—and cause severe injuries when they do—slip and fall accidents are the most common cause of maritime injuries.
Slippery Circumstances: Common Causes of Maritime Fall Injuries
When your job entails handling heavy equipment and machinery on surfaces that are often slippery, a slip and fall accident isn’t only possible, but almost inevitable. Whether you work near, in, or on the water, there are many hazards and frequent opportunities for you (and other offshore workers) to encounter that may result in painful falls. These situations include:
- Wet floors. Treacherous and unpredictable waves can crash against the sides of the vessel and spill onto the deck.
- Poorly secured equipment. Equipment that has been improperly stowed can slide around on deck and put you at risk for tripping. This includes loose lines, cargo, ropes, cords or electrical cables.
- Inadequate lighting. Poorly lit areas can increase risk of tripping and falling as a result of not being able to see the walkway clearly.
- Lack of safety equipment. Poorly designed or absent guardrails, barriers, safety nets, and non-skid paint/non-skid surfaces can all play a hand in increasing fall risks.
A maritime worker should be aware of these kinds of dangers at all times and do his best to avoid them to prevent injury. Any type of slip and fall accident can result in devastating injuries. However, when it comes to maritime slip and falls, the injuries and outcomes can be even more so. Common maritime injuries sustained from fall accidents include:
- Spinal cord injury
- Head trauma
- Neck injury
- Broken bones
- Paralysis and severe damage to the back.
- Internal injuries
Preventing Maritime Slip and Fall Injuries
A vessel owner can be held responsible for maritime injuries when the vessel is considered unseaworthy or the owner negligently ignored proper safety precautions. In order to avoid the risk of slip and falls, watercraft, vessels, and rigs should be properly maintained and contain the following safety measures:
- Effective non-skid material on decks and steps.
- Secure rails with the option of additional mesh safety guards.
- Personal flotation devices on deck (in the event of a “man overboard” situation).
- System in place for water rescues (including properly trained crew members and regularly scheduled rescue drills).
- Man-overboard alarm.
Liability: Who Is Responsible?
If you have sustained a maritime injury from a fall while working on a vessel, you may be entitled to compensation. Under the Jones Act, an injured seaman can pursue compensation for lost wages, past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, mental anguish and disfigurement. If you have been injured in a maritime accident, you need to contact an experienced maritime injury lawyer. Call our office today at 713-921-4171 or 800-232-3711 for a free legal consultation.
Attorney Steve Lee can help make sure that you and your family receive the benefits and compensation that you are due. Call today to discuss your case with a seasoned maritime law professional.