Distraction Causes Maritime Accidents

Everyone knows just how dangerous distracted driving can be, but there’s little mention of the risks caused by distracted workers aboard maritime vessels.

According to the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, operator inattention and improper lookout accounted for between 9 and 14 percent of all vessel fatalities annually.

The Dangers of Distraction

Anything that distracts maritime workers can slow reaction times, hinder employee performance, and lead to severe accidents. The safe navigation of a vessel demands the full attention of maritime workers, and distractions can disrupt concentration and interfere with the exchange of crucial information.

Even on dry land, a distracted motor vehicle operator will be slower to react and stop than a driver who is paying attention. The same is true of a maritime vessel operator. However, ships have no brakes, and there’s no pavement, so avoiding an accident at sea is far more difficult than a vehicle collision on land.

Common Maritime Distractions

Maritime vessel workers are frequently distracted by:

  • Electronic devices. Using a smartphone to talk, text, or email can distract maritime workers. Ship owners and operators have a responsibility to develop policies prohibiting usage of smartphones and other electronic devices when their use jeopardizes safety.
  • Coworkers. All maritime workers aboard a vessel have a duty to mitigate distractions, such as noisy machinery, coworker conversations, and loud music. Vessel owners must stress the importance of not distracting coworkers when aboard ships.

Distractions Can Cause Serious Injuries

Distractions aboard a vessel can lead to accidents that cause many types of injuries, including back problems, amputations, head trauma, lacerations, spinal complications, and hypothermia from falls overboard.

If you were injured due to the careless actions of a distracted coworker, you’re entitled to compensation. Your employer may be liable for your medical bills, loss of income, and pain and suffering. To learn more about what the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., can do for you, visit us on Facebook.

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