The U.S. maritime industry employs thousands of workers across the United States. Many of these workers find jobs in various fields: oil rigs, marine terminals, and shipyards. The Gulf of Mexico is one of the busier coastal regions in the United States as it provides access to dozens of ports. Most citizens from Texas and Louisiana who live on the Gulf Coast are familiar with the dangers that come with maritime work.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) discovered that workers in marine terminals and port operations have higher fatality rates than those who work onshore. In a recent study, it found that the rate of fatal injuries was up to almost 16%, five times that of the overall U.S. workforce.
Some of Dangerous Maritime Jobs
While every maritime job can be dangerous, the following are considered to be the most dangerous in the maritime industry:
- Longshoreman – common injuries to Longshoreman often involve head injuries, drownings, and amputations as they use heavy equipment to haul cargo on and off ships all day. Longshoreman also faces hazardous conditions and endure intense physical labor.
- Oil Rig Worker – oil rig workers drill and extract gas. In addition to perilous working conditions, oil rig workers are susceptible to the risks of fires and explosions.
- Fisherman – a recent study showed that 23 percent of the total deaths of fishermen in the United States occurred in the Gulf Coast of Mexico. Being an offshore fisherman can be dangerous for a lot of reasons. One reason is due to the sporadic changes to weather and ocean conditions. Another reason relates to worker fatigue given the long hours that a fisherman works each day for weeks at a time.
Common Types of Maritime Accidents
Common types of maritime accidents that can occur offshore or on the high seas:
- Tugboat Accidents – tugboats are some of the maritime industry’s busiest vessels. There are three types of tugboats (oceangoing, harbor, and river tugboats). Many common dangers to tugboats are capsizing, mechanical breakdowns and loss of power, hazards on-board, and vessel collisions.
- Jack-up Rig Accidents – common dangers associated with these rigs are explosions, collapses, high-powered moving parts, and fire.
- Dredge Accidents – a few of the common dangers related to dredges are slip-and-falls and drowning.
- Helicopter Transportation Accidents – often, the weather is to blame for accidents involving the transport of persons or cargo via helicopter. However, sometimes the accident is due to poor maintenance or equipment failure, which is something that can be controlled.
All Accidents Are Preventable
The Houston maritime lawyers at Morrow & Sheppard LLP firmly stand by the following principle: All accidents are preventable. Just because the statistics show that an offshore worker is five times more likely to be injured does not give the billion-dollar companies who control the industry the right to be careless. All employers—on and offshore—have a duty to provide a safe workplace and environment to its employees. Companies that force employees to work in dangerous work conditions should be held responsible.
If you or a loved has been injured while working offshore, you have legal rights that should be handled by experienced attorneys. We have years of experience with maritime accidents. Call us today at 800-489-2216 for a free, confidential consultation regarding your accident and injuries.