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Metairie Louisiana Legal Blog

Rigging can be a dangerous job

That may seem like an obvious statement to anyone who works on Louisiana's shipyards, but that does not make it any less true. The fact of the matter is that riggers have a dangerous job. Nonetheless, it is an important part of a shipyard's daily operations.

Riggers prepare components, equipment and sections for lifting onto ships with hoists, cranes or other equipment designed to move materials. In addition to these duties, riggers may also serve as signalmen when needed. If a load is not properly rigged or rigging equipment fails, workers could suffer serious or fatal injuries.

How should injured workers file claims for the DBA?

An employee that is eligible for the Defense Base Act (DBA) must file a written claim for compensation within one year after their injury. That may sound like a long time, but there are several circumstances that could end up delaying the process.

One factor that can impact the proceedings is how the worker files the claim in the first place. While there are multiple ways to file to the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP), the agency is specific on how they want it done. Make sure you know about the following methods before sending your injury claim to them.

Admiralty and maritime law covers cruise ship employees

While many may think that icebergs are the greatest threat to passengers and crew members on a cruise ship, this just isn't so. Some of the greatest threats to health and safety exist right on the vessel itself. Louisiana passengers may be exposed to some of these dangers, but the crew of a cruise ship may be at even greater risk. Admiralty and maritime law protects cruise ship employees who suffer injuries on navigable waters.

One recent study shows that cruise ship crew members as well as passengers may be breathing deadly toxins. The study monitored the air quality on four Carnival Cruise ships and found that, on certain sections of the vessel, the level of particulate matter was as concentrated as it is in a polluted city such as Beijing. The highest concentrations of these toxins occurred at the stern, or the back of the ship behind the smoke stacks.

Admiralty and maritime law issues: SCI secondary complications

Without a doubt, suffering a spinal cord injury can change a Louisiana worker's life forever. Even achieving as full a recovery as possible interferes with daily life, and an individual may no longer be able to engage in certain activities, including work duties, as he or she did prior to the accident. This makes pursuing compensation under admiralty and maritime law all the more important for those who work in the industry, especially if secondary complications arise.

Secondary complications are medical issues that can, and often do, arise due to a spinal cord injury. Losing feeling in part of the body opens up a patient for other problems. For example, pressure sores are common in SCI patients since they cannot feel the affected area. If these sores become infected, the problem only gets worse. Even those who are temporarily paralyzed could end up with these sore, which are more commonly referred to as bedsores.

A work-related accident can lead to a broken dominant hand

Most Louisiana residents use their dominant hand for nearly everything. When a work-related accident leads to a break or fracture in that hand, life can become particularly frustrating, annoying and troublesome. In fact, some employees may not even be able to return to work until reaching a full recovery.

The hand is made up of numerous bones that create a framework that gives you the ability to do a variety of tasks such as grabbing or catching items, making a fist and picking up objects. When one of the bones in the hand breaks, all of those movements and more are compromised until it heals. One way in which many workers break one or more bones in their hands is catching themselves as they fall. In other cases, an object falls on, strikes or pinches the hand causing a break.

Should you sue a third party for your injuries?

Longshore workers are unable to sue their employers after on-the-job injuries.

However, if someone other than your employer caused your injuries, you have the right to sue. But is it worth the trouble to sue someone else, when the Longshore Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act already provides benefits for injured workers? In this blog post, we will answer that question.

Performing the same motions again and again could cause injuries

Most Louisiana workers perform the same tasks repeatedly while on the job. The more repetitive those actions become, the higher the risk of suffering injuries due to repetitive stress. It may take some time for at least some of those workers to connect their pain to their work.

Some Louisiana workers may not even realize that their job duties are responsible for their pain even though at least one out of every eight people suffer due to on-the-job stresses on their bodies. As it turns out, somewhere around 60 to 75 percent of the work-related injuries reported involve repetitive stress. For harbor and longshore workers, repetitive stress injuries could easily occur.

Charts show which countries have the most DBA cases

Longshoremen and harbor worker have some of the most dangerous and unpredictable jobs in the nation. Most of the contractors and employees that work oversea face even more challenges due to their unfamiliar surroundings.

For decades, the United States Department of Labor have released Defense Base Act (DBA) case summary charts detailing the amount of cases created in each nation. While it doesn’t reveal the total amount of injuries and deaths in the countries, it does showcase which types of environments may present more hazards to oversea workers than others.

Spinal cord injuries have several effects on civilian contractors

Working in any industry comes with certain risks for injury -- there's no way around it. The difference from industry to industry is often the severity of common injuries, how long it takes to recover from them and what lasting effects sufferers could endure. For instance, civilian contractors from Louisiana who work on military installations across the globe could suffer from one or more effects caused by a spinal cord injury.

Many of the body's processes require input from the spinal cord in order to happen. For instance, the body sweats when too hot and causes goosebumps when too cold in order to help regulate the temperature of the body. In many instances, people with spinal cord injuries lose these crucial abilities below the injury site, which makes it necessary to use means outside the body such as blankets or fans with temperature changes others may not even notice.

Admiralty and maritime law and commercial fishing deaths

Louisiana residents who work on the country's navigable waters can tell others how dangerous it can be. Television reality shows such as "The Deadliest Catch" brought these hazards to the public, but viewers may not truly understand how possible and devastating deaths on commercial fishing vessels are. In many instances, the fate of surviving family members hinges on successfully navigating admiralty and maritime law.

Recently, three commercial fisherman lost their lives in an accident on the West Coast. Rough waters are nothing new to many who work in the industry, but that does not stop them from going to work each day. The demand for their products keeps them going, especially in times when it is not easy to bring in the fish and crustaceans consumers crave.

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