For many offshore and maritime employees, working in confined spaces is part of the job. Unfortunately, working in confined spaces can be dangerous—especially offshore, and especially when employers prioritize their profits over their employees’ safety. U.S. Coast Guard: Multiple Factors Contributed to Crewmembers’ Exposure to Dangerous Levels of Gas in Confined Fish Hold For example, the U.S. Coast Guard recently issued a Marine Safety Alert warning of the dangers of working in fish holds on commercial fishing vessels. As the U.S. Coast Guard explains, commercial fishing vessel operators must verify the atmospheric conditions in their fish holds because failure to do so can expose workers to potentially fatal hazards: “There are specific hazards associated with the use of brine dip solutions, a common substance used in the industry. Brine dip combined with standing water can produce dangerous levels of hydrogen sulfide (H2S). The U.S. Coast Guard is currently investigating a marine casualty where dangerous levels of H2S were present on a commercial fishing vessel, resulting in the hospitalization of crewmembers on board.” The U.S. Coast Guard issued its Marine Safety Alert after investigating a case in which a crewmember of a commercial fishing vessel fell into a fish hold where he was overcome by high levels of hydrogen sulfide. When another crewmember attempted to help them, this second crewmember “was immediately overcome by the gas and also fell into the hold.” The crewmembers had to be rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard and the local fire department’s certified confined space […]
The Jones Act is a federal law that governs the liability of vessel operators and marine employers for work-related injuries or the death of an employee.