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How container ships can put longshoremen at risk

On Behalf of | Jul 4, 2024 | Longshore/Maritime Accidents

Longshoremen are blue-collar workers who perform jobs at harbors. Their jobs are partially terrestrial and partially maritime. While they may load and unload off of docks, they may also have to enter or access vessels.

Therefore, there are substantially more workplace hazards for longshoremen than there are for those working standard warehousing jobs. While job responsibilities may be largely similar, the possibility of catastrophic injury is higher. The compensation process is also significantly more complex for those working as longshoremen or at harbors as opposed to those working at terrestrial businesses.

Container ships are one of the biggest safety risks for those employed as longshoremen.

What are common container ship hazards?

Workplace safety experts have identified multiple safety concerns for those working on container ships and those who help to load and unload them. Obviously, working with or near the heavy equipment necessary to put containers onto ships or remove them from ships is a risk on its own. Contact with heavy equipment can lead to severe traumatic injuries that can leave someone incapable of performing job functions.

The containers themselves can be a source of hazard. They may shift during transportation, especially if there has been difficult weather out on the ocean. Containers can sometimes fall onto workers with tragic consequences.

In some cases, the safety concerns begin with the contents of the containers. Particularly when there has been unusual movement of the container ship or the containers, the items inside a container could end up damaged. Drums of chemicals may leak, or delicate items may break into many pieces. Workers could end up exposed to dangerous sharp objects or caustic chemicals.

How longshoremen’s claims are different

If those working in a harbor end up hurt on the job, they have a complicated process ahead of them. Standard workers’ compensation protection does not apply. Instead, there are special rules for longshoremen and harbor workers. The process of seeking compensation for medical expenses and lost wages can be substantially more complex.

Anyone hurt in a maritime environment, including those who work at harbors, may need assistance when seeking compensation for injury-related expenses. Knowing about and avoiding maritime job hazards can only go so far. Workers also have to be ready to seek compensation if they incur injuries in a maritime or harbor work incident despite their best efforts.