Accidents Caused by Maritime Equipment

A Maritime Equipment Injury Lawyer Will Fight for Your Compensation

Whether you work on a commercial fishing boat, a cargo ship or cruise ship, a barge, a yacht, or a fixed platform at sea, you use equipment on a daily basis. Accidents involving equipment are common, and they often leave maritime workers suffering from severe traumatic injuries.

If you have suffered injuries caused by equipment, you have clear legal rights. Several laws protect maritime workers, and determining which laws protect you is the first step toward recovering your losses. Whether you have a claim under the Jones Act, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA), the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), or another workers’ compensation statute, a lawyer can help you collect the compensation you deserve.

Common Maritime Equipment Accidents

Commercial fishing boats, cargo ships and other vessels all have extensive amounts of specialized equipment onboard. From inadequate maintenance and defects to negligent operation, various issues can lead to equipment-related accidents and injuries. With this in mind, some of the most common types of maritime equipment accidents include:

Conveyor Belt Accidents

Conveyor belts speed the process of loading or unloading a ship’s cargo. They are also used in commercial fishing operations, cruise ship kitchens and various other applications. But, while conveyor belts can increase efficiency, they can also present serious injury risks for crewmembers.

One of the most common (and most dangerous) types of conveyor belt accidents involves getting pulled into the conveyor belt’s driveshaft or other moving components. These accidents can result in loss of digits and limbs, and they can be fatal in some cases. In many cases, these accidents happen when workers’ clothing gets caught in the conveyor belt, twisting tightly and leaving them with no way to escape severe harm.

Crane Accidents

Crane accidents can involve equipment onboard a vessel or fixed cranes at shipping terminals. They can arise from a variety of issues—ranging from collisions with booms and cargo loads to falls and electrocutions.

Injuries from maritime crane accidents can range from mild to severe. In some cases, crewmembers will escape with minor injuries that only require basic first aid. In others, however, crewmembers can suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBI), spinal cord injuries (SCI), and other injuries with life-altering or life-threatening effects.  

Falling Equipment and Materials

Falling equipment is a risk for crewmembers in all occupations. In cabins and below deck, equipment can shift due to heavy seas and fall onto unsuspecting workers. Above deck, various factors can cause equipment and materials to fall. Crewmembers struck by falling equipment and materials can suffer injuries ranging from concussions to broken bones, and they can face recovery periods ranging from days to years.

As with other types of maritime or offshore accidents, when you get struck by falling equipment or materials on the job, you do not need to be able to prove what happened in order to file a successful claim. The Jones Act, LHWCA, OCSLA and other workers’ compensation statutes pay benefits on a “no fault” basis. But, if you can prove fault, you may be able to recover significantly more for your injuries. So, it will be important for you to write down as many details as you can remember to share with your maritime equipment accident attorney.

Fish Processing Equipment Accidents

Working with fish processing equipment presents risks for deckhands, freezer workers, quality controllers and other crewmembers. These risks include the risk of injuries from coworkers’ mistakes, inadequate access to safety equipment, and equipment malfunctions. Additionally, crewmembers who work in fish processing often work long hours; and, as a result, fatigue is a common factor in these accidents as well.

From conveyor belts to chamber freezers and plate freezers, all types of equipment used in fish processing can be dangerous when proper safety and maintenance procedures are not followed. Unfortunately, these are common issues onboard commercial fishing vessels, and many crewmembers suffer injuries that could (and should) have been avoided.

Ladder Accidents

Ladder accidents are among the leading causes of job-related injuries on land. At sea, climbing a ladder and working high above the deck can be even more dangerous, as waves and swells increase the risk that workers will suddenly lose their balance and fall.

In addition to falls, ladder accidents can also involve coworkers dropping tools, equipment and materials from overhead. Falling ladders can cause serious injuries as well. Falling objects are another leading cause of job-related injuries on the sea and on land.

Plate Freezer Accidents

Designed to quickly freeze fish and store them at temperatures as low as 40 degrees below zero, plate freezers serve an essential purpose on commercial fishing vessels. But, they also present severe injury risks for workers. Frostbite, burns, hypothermia, and injuries from falls and collisions are all very real concerns—and they are all much more common than they should be.

Crewmembers who spend their days lifting heavy blocks of frozen fish into and out of plate freezers can suffer repetitive stress injuries (RSI) as well. Injuries to the lower back, knees, hips and elbows are all common. While the Jones Act and other laws cover these types of injuries, proving your right to just compensation for an RSI can present particular challenges.

Trawl Winch Accidents

Trawl winches exert an extreme amount of force as they relentlessly pull nets full of fish and other seafood from the ocean. If a deckhand or other crewmember gets caught in a trawler winch, the consequences can be devastating. Inexperience, distractions, loose clothing, and various other issues can all lead to trawler winch accidents. Regardless of the circumstances involved, injured maritime workers and their families can (and should) consult with a lawyer about their right to just compensation.

Get a Free Consultation with a Maritime Equipment Injury Lawyer about Your Legal Rights

If you need to file a claim for an equipment accident at sea, we encourage you to contact us promptly. We provide free consultations and contingency-fee representation to injured maritime workers and family members nationwide. To discuss your legal rights with a maritime injury lawyer in confidence, call 800-468-4878 or request an appointment online now. 


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