What Should Maritime Companies Do to Prevent On-the-Job Injuries?

Maritime Injuries Feb 12, 2021

It’s no secret that offshore and maritime injuries are far more common than they should be. While the prevalence of on-the-job injuries is partially due to the inherent hazards of working offshore, there are many steps that maritime companies should – but often don’t – take to protect their workers. As Maritime accident lawyer David Willis explains, many of the most common safety failures are also among the most common causes of job-related injuries for maritime workers. 10 Safety Violations that Frequently Lead to On-the-Job Injuries for Maritime Workers While many different factors can lead to on-the-job injuries, offshore and maritime workers frequently suffer injuries due to safety violations. Maritime companies have a legal obligation to reduce injury risks for their employees, but many companies fall far short of what is required. Here are 10 of the most common safety issues that lead to on-the-job injuries for maritime workers: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Failures – Inadequate access to personal protective equipment (PPE), PPE in poor condition, and inadequate training on the proper use of PPE Electrical Hazards – Exposure to electrical faults and other electrical hazards Equipment Dangers – Equipment that has not been adequately maintained, equipment not being used for its intended purpose, and inadequate training on the proper use of equipment Fire Hazards – Inadequate mitigation of fire hazards, overlooking combustion risks, failure to provide fire extinguishers, and inadequate fire protection systems Communication Failures – Inadequate communication of safety hazards, inability to report safety risks, and inaccessibility following […]


New Study Reveals Most Common Offshore and Maritime Injuries

Maritime Injuries Feb 10, 2021

What are the most common offshore and maritime injuries? A recent study published in the Hellenic Shipping News answers this question. The study examines data from three different sources in an effort to determine what is the single most common cause of injuries at sea. Here, Jones Act lawyer David Willis breaks down what injured offshore and maritime workers need to know. The Seven Most Common Causes of Offshore and Maritime Injuries The data do not point to a single factor as the most common cause of offshore injuries. But, they do reach a consensus regarding the top seven causes of accidents on offshore and inshore waters. Based on the data studied, the seven most common causes of offshore and maritime injuries are: Slips and Falls Burns and Explosions Being Caught in Equipment Being Struck By Falling Objects Suffocation and Asphyxiation Lifting Accidents Other Causes While the Hellenic Shipping News notes that the three sources’ data sets are, “surprisingly similar given that each data set has a wide variety of vessel types,” there are some notable discrepancies. For example, while two of the sources identify slips and falls as the most common cause of injuries (accounting for 34 percent and 32 percent of all injuries in these sources’ studies), the third identifies “struck by” accidents as the leading cause—accounting for 37 percent of all injuries on the job. Additionally, while one of the sources identifies lifting accidents as the second most common cause (28 percent of all injuries), these accidents […]


What Are My Rights Living in Virginia and Injured in a Maritime Accident?

Maritime Injuries Jan 29, 2021

Working in the maritime industry is dangerous. In fact, it is one of the most dangerous occupations in the country. Each year, numerous maritime workers in Virginia suffer serious on-the-job injuries, and many can never recover fully. Here, maritime accident attorney David P. Willis explains your legal rights if you have been seriously injured in a maritime accident in Virginia: Statutory Rights Under Federal Law Due to the unique nature – and unique risks – of the maritime industry, Congress has enacted several statutes that provide specific protections to maritime workers. Depending upon your particular occupation and where you perform your day-to-day job duties, you may be entitled to compensation for your job-related injury under: The Jones Act – The Jones Act protects Virginia maritime workers who are classified as “seamen.” This includes captains, crewmembers, and others who work onboard vessels in navigation. Notably, a vessel does not have to be moving to be considered “in navigation.” If the vessel is in the water and capable of moving in navigable waters, then workers on board are entitled to “no-fault” maintenance and cure benefits under the Jones Act. The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA) – The LHWCA protects maritime employees who work at ports and terminals, as well as those who work on docks and offshore drilling platforms. Longshoremen, harbor workers, shipbuilders, and others who are entitled to the LHWCA’s protections in Virginia can receive “no-fault” compensation if they get injured on the job. The Outer Continental Shelf Lands […]


Your Rights if Exposed to Toxic Chemicals or Fumes in a Maritime Accident

Maritime Injuries Jan 29, 2021

Many workers in the maritime industry are exposed to toxic chemicals and fumes daily. This exposure can cause serious harm, and several types of illnesses and diseases are linked to toxic exposure in maritime occupations. If you are experiencing toxic exposure symptoms, you should see a doctor promptly, and you should also consult with a maritime injury lawyer about your legal rights. Examples of Illnesses and Diseases Linked to Maritime Toxic Exposure How do you know if your symptoms are related to toxic exposure at work? In most cases, maritime employees are only exposed to noxious chemicals and fumes in the workplace. As a result, upon being diagnosed with an exposure-related illness or disease, it is often relatively easy to link the diagnosis back to an employee’s work environment. This is true of illnesses and diseases such as: Aplastic anemia Blood and bone marrow cancers Bronchitis Kidney and bladder cancers Leukemia Lung cancer Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) Scleroderma Silicosis Tuberculosis What Are Your Rights if You Were Exposed to Toxic Chemicals or Fumes at Work? If you work in a maritime or offshore occupation and you are suffering due to toxic exposure, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation. The Jones Act, Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA) and Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) all provide compensation to maritime and offshore workers who suffer from toxic exposure on the job. Depending on your individual circumstances, you may be entitled to recover: Maintenance and cure under the Jones Act […]


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 […]


A Maritime Worker Hurt on Job.. What Compensation Can I Receive?

Maritime Injuries Dec 24, 2020

Did you know that maritime workers have a higher fatality, injury, and illness rate than other categories of workers in the United States? Maritime-related injuries and accidents occur on and off vessels for various reasons, such as owners and operators failing to maintain a safe and seaworthy vessel, slips and falls from oily deck surfaces, falling off defective ladders, and exposures to toxic chemicals, among other things. Some maritime workers are even injured while working aboard a vessel in untraditional manners. For example, several years ago, a crew member was wounded by a bread trolley in the galley of Celebrity Cruises’ Eclipse (a subsidiary of Royal Caribbean Cruises). The ship’s sudden movement caused the trolley to roll, fall over, and then strike the worker in the back.  The worker was awarded several million dollars for spinal injuries. There are many more stories out there where vessel workers were seriously injured.  The Willis Law Firm is here to help you or a loved one obtain compensation for the damages you sustained while at work.  What Laws Protect Maritime Workers? Maritime law is a niche area of law that protects maritime workers injured on the job. The protections and compensation available depends on several factors, such as the type of worker injured, where the injury occurred, and the specific details of the accident and injuries sustained.  Some of the more common laws that protect maritime workers include: Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA): This applies to maritime workers injured near navigable […]


Injuries Sustained by Maritime Workers When a Vessel Capsizes or Sinks

Maritime Injuries Dec 17, 2020

Having a vessel capsize or sink is a dangerous scenario that could happen to maritime workers performing their duties while in navigable waters. For many, such incidents never happen. However, others have dealt with the trauma and tragedy associated with a capsized or sinking vessel.   For example, in early September of 2019, a 656-foot vehicle carrier ship known as the Golden Ray overturned off the coast of Brunswick, Georgia, with crewmembers initially trapped inside of the overturned vessel. The ship had 24 people onboard, including 23 crew members and one pilot. Fortunately, the trapped crew workers were rescued after the Coast Guard’s intense rescue efforts. The rescuers performed taps on the ship’s hull to try and find the crew’s location. Finally, once they received return taps, rescuers could drill a hole into the hull and eventually rescue the crew. Although their lives were spared, some crew members sustained injuries.   In another example, a cruise ship on the Yangtze River overturned during a severe storm. It was carrying over 450 people. Many passengers were injured, died, or went missing. Unfortunately, there are other stories like this one and the Golden Ray where maritime workers were hurt. The experienced maritime attorneys at Willis Law Firm help fight for the rights of injured crew members and their families like the ones injured aboard those vessels.    Common Injuries Sustained By Workers Aboard a Capsized Vessel  Some common injuries that a crew member could sustain from a distressed vessel that capsizes or sinks include, but […]


Were You Injured While Aboard a Cruise Ship? Help is Available

Maritime Injuries Dec 3, 2020

Picture it: You’ve booked the vacation of a lifetime, and it was supposed to be a time when you and your loved ones should have been enjoying the warm breeze of a tropical paradise and relaxing on white sandy beaches. However, instead, you end up sustaining severe injuries due to the negligence of the cruiseliner. If this has happened to you, the cruise ship injury attorneys at Willis Law Firm are here for you.  Unfortunately, both passengers and crew members aboard a cruise ship can be seriously hurt or even killed from various types of cruise ship accidents. That being the case, you should note that the attorneys at Willis Law Firm are different — we put clients first. Our firm is committed to holding cruise ship owners accountable.  We fight for injured passengers to get proper compensation for the injuries sustained while onboard a cruise ship.   Typical Injuries That Cruisers Can Face Our cruise ship attorneys have decades of experience representing individuals, including passengers and crew members, injured in maritime-related accidents, such as those that occur while aboard cruise ships. We have a deep understanding of maritime laws, so we can offer highly skilled representation to cruisers and/or cruise workers who have been hurt while onboard the vessel.   Some common accidents and injuries that cruisers face include, but are not limited to: Slips, trips and falls  Violence, rapes, and assaults,  Alcohol-related incidents Drowning from falling overboard  Fires and mechanical issues Weather issues and rough sea accidents Sadly, some passengers […]


Oil Tanker Explosions Present a Significant Danger to Maritime Workers

Maritime Injuries Dec 1, 2020

Crew members working on oil tankers are exposed to dangerous perils each day while working. However, there are special laws that govern maritime workers, such as the Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). These federal laws provide compensation to various maritime workers injured while working on or near a vessel. At Willis Law Firm, our maritime accident attorneys are well versed in the law and we regularly fight for injured workers, including those working aboard oil tankers, to help them get the compensation they deserve for the maritime-related injuries sustained. If you or a loved one was hurt while working aboard an oil tanker and have questions, contact our office today for a free case evaluation. Our firm puts our clients first.  The Dangers of Oil Tanker Explosions Oil tankers can be especially dangerous for maritime workers because of the flammable and toxic chemicals they carry. Sometimes, explosions and fires can occur unexpectedly, which was the case with a Russian oil tanker that exploded in the Sea of Azovback in October of this year.  Thirteen crew members worked aboard the vessel and three went missing after the explosion. Although the tanker was actually empty at the time of the explosion, Russia’s Federal Agency for Maritime and River Transport noted that the tanker explosion may have been triggered by flammable vapors left behind from the vessel’s previous cargo that it was transporting. After the explosion, the ship was incapable of operating properly and had to be […]


Common Slip, Trip, and Fall Hazards for Maritime Workers

Maritime Injuries Nov 23, 2020

Maritime work is dangerous.  In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, maritime workers, especially those in marine terminals and ports, have a higher fatality, injury, and illness rate than other categories of workers in the United States.  From 2011-2017, the CDC reported that maritime worker deaths occurred at an annual rate of 15.9 per 100,000 workers (a rate five times that of the U.S. workforce overall).  The nonfatal injury rate for maritime workers is double that of the U.S. workforce overall.   Because such work is so dangerous, safety aboard a vessel is key to preventing injuries. Vessel owners and operators must follow numerous safety laws, guidelines, and regulations established by governmental entities such as the U.S. Coast Guard and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  These, and other governmental agencies, put together free safety resources to help vessel owners and operators exercise safety aboard their vessels to reduce workers’ injuries.  Below are some sample resources available for free: Deck Barge Safety  Safety and Health Regulations for Longshoring Equipment Approval Standards Development Unfortunately, even with safety regulations and free safety resources, owners and operators sometimes fail to maintain a safe and seaworthy vessel, which causes accidents and injuries to maritime workers that could have been prevented. Common accidents and injuries sustained by workers include slips and falls from oily deck surfaces, falling off defective ladders, severe back injuries from lifting heavy cables and lines, fractured and broken bones, drowning from falling overboard, amputated limbs, exposures to […]


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