The harbors around Texas see a huge amount of shipping traffic. It is quite cost-effective to move merchandise and consumer goods using large shipping vessels, and the ports of entry where those vessels arrive when transporting goods to the United States are often bustling with workers.
Harbor workers face numerous threats on the job, not the least of which is their proximity to the water. Many of them will have to operate or work near heavy machinery that could cause struck-by incidents or crushing injuries. Although harbor workers may do most of their work on the land and only part of their job on the actual vessels, they don’t have the same protections as the average Texas worker if they get hurt on the job.
What protects harbor workers?
If someone at a terrestrial shipping facility, like a commercial transportation warehouse, gets hurt on the job, they can file a Texas workers’ compensation claim for medical and disability coverage. When a harbor worker gets hurt in a nearly identical incident, they won’t be able to file a basic workers’ compensation claim in many cases. Instead, their right to seek compensation comes from the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA).
The worker’s employment will need to meet certain standards to qualify for benefits under the LHWCA, but if they do, they can recoup medical expenses, lost wages and other economic losses incurred because of the job incident.
Although it may take a bit more effort for harbor workers to connect with compensation after an incident on the job, the system may more fully compensate them than standard workers’ compensation benefits, which have strict limitations on coverage of lost wages. Learning more about the LHWCA and other protections for harbor workers may benefit those working in particularly dangerous professions.