Accidents Caused by Maritime Worker Fatigue
Fatigue is a frequent cause of accidents, injuries, and death at sea. The demands of shift work, coupled with dangerous conditions on the rough seas, can disrupt sleep and lead to severe fatigue. Chronic fatigue does serious damage to a person’s mind and body, creating a constant state of lethargy that impacts physical strength and mental sharpness.
The Dangers of Fatigue
Crew members are often engaged in physically- and mentally-demanding work. Over an extended period of time, long work hours and chaotic sleep schedules may lead to serious health problems. In the short term, fatigue impacts concentration and judgement, impairs mental processes, reduces strength, and slows reaction times. Even worse, long-term fatigue can lead to:
- Sleep disorders. Extreme fatigue can cause sleep disorders such as insomnia.
- Gastrointestinal problems. Stomach issues, including ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome, can be caused by fatigue.
- Cardiovascular disorders. Long-term fatigue can lead to cardiovascular problems such as heart disease and high blood pressure
Many vessel accidents are attributable to human error caused by fatigue, when workers are too physically and mentally exhausted to make sound decisions. Common fatigue-related ship accidents include:
- Groundings. Groundings occur when there’s a loss of control over a vessel, causing the bottom of the ship to make contact with the ocean floor. Ship groundings may result in hypothermia or drowning.
- Collisions. Collisions happen when a ship runs into another vessel or a stationary object. These accidents can occur when a fatigued operator fails to observe navigational safety rules. Collisions often cause falls, resulting in broken bones and spinal cord damage.
- Overboard accidents. Erratic movements by fatigued vessel operators, such as abrupt starts, sharp turns, and sudden stops may cause crew members to fall overboard. Overboard accidents frequently result in hypothermia, and even death.
Fatigue-Related Accident Compensation
If you’ve experienced health problems or injuries due to fatigue, you need representation by an experienced maritime injury attorney. To learn more about what the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., can do for you, visit us on Facebook.