Common Accidents and Injuries Sustained by Shipyard Workers

Maritime Injuries Dec 31, 2020

Shipyard workers, and other shoreside maritime workers, suffer from serious injuries each year.  Sometimes these injuries can be as serious or even more severe than those suffered by crew members working on a vessel. Longshoremen and harbor workers, such as those working on docks, shipping terminals, or shipyards, are covered by special maritime laws such as the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. This federal law can be complicated to understand if you are unfamiliar with legal language. However, the experienced maritime attorneys at Willis Law Firm can advise you of your legal rights under all applicable state and federal laws and help you or your loved one obtain appropriate compensation for the injuries sustained while working in a shipyard or performing other maritime-related work. Our firm fights to protect injured maritime workers. 

Common Injuries Sustained by Shipyard and Other Shoreside Maritime Workers

Shipyards are dangerous places to work, and they expose workers to the risk of serious accidents. One exposure faced by such workers is to toxic chemicals. Some of the common chemicals and toxins that shipyard workers may be exposed to include:

  • Lead
  • Benzene
  • Asbestos

Lead Exposure

Although the federal government banned the use of lead decades ago, it still exists in some products and ships today. When lead-based paint on ships starts to peel away, it releases hazardous toxins into the air that become dangerous to shipyard workers. Maritime workers who breathe in these toxins or absorb lead through the skin can experience various health issues. According to the CDC, some health problems from lead exposure may include abdominal pain, fatigue, irritability, memory loss, weakness, pain in the hands and feet, nausea, and depression, among other issues. Lead poisoning can also cause high blood pressure, kidney issues, heart disease, and even cancer. 

Benzene Exposure

Benzene is a chemical that is either colorless or a light yellow liquid that is highly flammable.  According to the CDC, benzene is widely used in the United States, ranking in the top 20 chemicals for production volume. This chemical is commonly used to make products such as plastics, nylons, and synthetic fibers. It evaporates into the air, making it easy for maritime workers working on or near vessels carrying benzene to be exposed. The use of benzene can result in maritime workers having health issues because it can cause an individual’s cells to work incorrectly. For example, it can damage the immune system and cause bone marrow not to produce enough red blood cells. Maritime workers who breathe in high levels of benzene may show symptoms such as drowsiness, dizziness, headaches, tremors, confusion, and death in some situations. 

Asbestos Exposure 

Asbestos is the name given to various naturally occurring fibrous minerals that have been used for decades in many commercial products such as insulation, automotive brakes, and textile products, among others. When maritime workers handle products containing asbestos, it can separate into microscopic-sized particles that remain in the air and are inhaled easily. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, workers exposed to asbestos can develop serious life-threatening diseases such as lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Employers can protect shipyard and other shoreside maritime workers from exposure to toxic chemicals. Some measures that can be taken include ensuring all workers have appropriate personal protective equipment, monitoring chemical exposures, having workers potentially exposed to chemicals regularly tested to ensure they are safe, and adequately training workers to safely handle chemicals and products that could expose them to toxins and to be able to recognize exposures to unhealthy toxins. 

In addition to occupational illnesses from chemical exposures, shipyard and other longshore workers suffer from injuries such as: 

  • Back, neck, shoulder, and arm injuries
  • Brain injuries
  • Bone fractures

How Can a Maritime Attorney Help?

If you were injured while working in a shipyard or in another longshore worker position, an experienced maritime accident attorney at Willis Law Firm can explain your legal rights according to applicable state and federal law to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Some maritime workers may receive compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, cost of rehabilitation, economic loss, and pain and suffering. We have decades of combined experience in maritime law and regularly help maritime workers (including shipyard workers) who suffer from maritime-related job injuries. 

Contact a Maritime Accident Attorney at Willis Law Firm Today 

Are you a maritime worker who was injured while working in a shipyard? If so, contact an experienced maritime accident attorney at Willis Law Firm today for a free consultation. You can contact us at 1-800-468-4878 or email us through our online webform to find out more about your legal rights and options. We are a nationwide maritime injury law firm.

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