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The Dangers of Personnel Basket Transfers

July 26, 2022

Working offshore in the maritime industry is dangerous.  Many Jones Act seamen spend their days on vessels, drilling rigs, and platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.

Jones Act seamen in the maritime industry sometimes need to move between vessels, offshore terminals, drilling rigs, platforms, and other installations at sea.  This sort of movement is often achieved with a personnel transfer basket.

What Is A Personnel Transfer Basket?

A personnel transfer basket, also named marine offshore man basket, is a device designed to move a Jones Act seaman from one point to another by crane.

Below is a photo that was taken midway through a personnel transfer basket operation.  When this photo was taken, the crane operator had already lifted the Jones Act seaman and personnel transfer basket.  As you can see, he is standing on a disc and holding onto a cargo net.

Jones Act seaman on a personnel transfer basket

This is a very dangerous operation that many Jones Act seamen have or will be subjected to throughout their careers.  Some may even be hurt during this operation.

What are the Dangers of a Personnel Basket Transfer?

There are many dangers associated with personnel basket transfers.  We will name a few:

  • Rough seas
  • High winds
  • Poorly trained crane operators
  • Poorly trained seamen
  • Poorly trained signalmen
  • Supervisors failing to ensure work is done safely
  • Failure of workers involved in the operation to identify risks
  • Failure to properly plan the operation
  • Failure to observe safety protocols

Many Jones Act seamen have been injured as a result of basket transfer operations that were not carried out safely and successfully.  Some injuries include broken bones, disc herniations, and traumatic brain injuries.  Smaller injuries are known to occur.  However, you should not ignore an injury merely because you perceive it as small.  A seemingly small injury can result in increasing pain over time.  A condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome can be debilitating and affect your ability to work.  CRPS is a form of chronic pain that usually affects an arm or a leg. CRPS typically develops after an injury, a surgery, a stroke, or a heart attack. The pain is out of proportion to the severity of the initial injury.

According to the Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms of CRPS include:

  • Continuous burning or throbbing pain, usually in the arm, leg, hand, or foot
  • Sensitivity to touch or cold
  • Swelling of the painful area
  • Changes in skin temperature — alternating between sweaty and cold
  • Changes in skin color, ranging from white and blotchy to red or blue
  • Changes in skin texture, which may become tender, thin, or shiny in the affected area
  • Changes in hair and nail growth
  • Joint stiffness, swelling, and damage
  • Muscle spasms, tremors, and weakness (atrophy)
  • Decreased ability to move the affected body part
  • Symptoms may change over time and vary from person to person. Pain, swelling, redness, noticeable changes in temperature, and hypersensitivity (particularly to cold and touch) usually occur first.

If you have suffered an injury in a maritime accident or a family member died in a fatal maritime accident, you should contact an experienced Jones Act attorney at Morrow & Sheppard LLP.  We will make sure you understand the laws and your rights.

Discuss your case with our record-setting work and catastrophic injury attorneys.

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