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Metairie Louisiana Legal Blog

Equipment checks are essential to avoid toxic exposure on a ship

Safety should be paramount for any Louisiana company. This includes companies who operate on waterways. One of the dangers nearly everyone working aboard a vessel encounters is toxic exposure, and making sure that safety equipment works properly is essential to avoid unnecessary injuries and illnesses.

Respiratory protection is vital to reducing or eliminating the risk associated with toxic substances. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires that companies choose the appropriate device for the environment and make sure that a particular respirator properly fits each employee. Thereafter, the employer and each employee need to verify that the seal on the respirator works.

Preventing mooring accidents could prevent serious injuries

Any number of mistakes could lead to injuries on board ships and on the docks, whether here in Louisiana or elsewhere. Crews often prepare for emergencies, even those that have a small chance of happening. However, ordinarily every day, mundane tasks lead to serious injuries. For instance, mooring accidents could cause devastating injuries.

Some equipment on vessels gets used periodically, but the mooring ropes get used regularly. Without regular maintenance, the safety of anyone in their path is compromised. Of course, the rope could be in good repair and still fail. For instance, issues that could lead to a catastrophic failure include prolonged and repeated radial compression and bending, high levels of cyclic loading at exposed terminals, and/or fatigue from the ropes bending around the fittings of the deck, among other things.

Do cruise ship workers' schedules put them at risk for injury?

Many Louisiana residents like to take cruises. While on board ship, cruise goers may not realize just how much work goes on behind the scenes. In fact, they may not realize the grueling schedules that workers keep. Those schedules may put them at risk for injury.

People who work on cruise ships often work seven days a week for up to 20 hours a day. This schedule can go on anywhere from two to 11 months. Keeping up this pace and intensity would obviously cause a great deal of exhaustion and sleep deprivation, along with a substantial amount of stress.

Avoiding crane injuries while working on Louisiana's docks

Working on Louisiana's docks presents significant dangers for those who work on them. A variety of hazards put their lives at risk, including the use of cranes to move cargo around. Crane injuries could prove serious and even fatal, so ensuring the safety of all workers should be a priority of every employer.

Not surprisingly, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has rules and regulations for employers and employees to follow when it comes to working with and around cranes. This essential piece of equipment requires the same level of attention and safety consciousness as any other. The first line of defense with regard to safety involves inspecting the crane thoroughly and often. Any defects require addressing immediately in order to keep the crane at peak efficiency.

Did inadequate security cause injury to yacht crew members?

Living and working aboard a yacht or even a superyacht may be a dream for some Louisiana residents. Even though it would be hard work, it allows yacht crew members to see parts of the world they may not otherwise get to see. Working on board one of these vessels does come with hazards, however. In addition to safety measures to account for the normal injury-causing dangers, personal safety is also a concern.

Pirates may no longer wear eye patches, carry parrots on their shoulders or have peg legs, but they still exist and present a real danger to people on yachts. These vessels create quite a target-rich environment since they are not cheap and tend to let others know that someone aboard has enough money to meet the price tag. Yacht owners are having to look into "arming" their vessels with security measures in order to repel potential attackers.

Admiralty and maritime law: Good housekeeping prevents injuries

Keeping a vessel clean and clear of debris helps increase the safety of everyone aboard. It would probably be a challenge to find any Louisiana residents who work on navigable vessels that would disagree. Unfortunately, failing to perform needed housekeeping duties could result in injuries from mishaps while working. Fortunately, admiralty and maritime law may provide a way to recover benefits for medical expenses and lost wages, among other things.

Picking up after completing tasks could save someone from tripping and falling over whatever it might be. Leaving oily rags around after doing hot work could start a fire. Slippery or wet floors due to liquids, water, snow or ice could cause slips and falls. Some who work on vessels have fallen off of them because of these cleanliness hazards. Even if a fall keeps a person on board the ship, the injuries could be serious.

Every maritime accident provides a chance to improve safety

Government agencies gather and analyze data on a variety of events. One of the areas in which the National Transportation Safety Board gathers this type of information is the country's waterways, including those around and in Louisiana. Every maritime accident has the potential of saving lives in the future.

The NTSB studied approximately 30 such accidents that occurred in 2018. The vessels involved ranged from passenger ships to personal crafts. The analysis of the data gathered could help save lives. They found commonalities among the accidents that may lead to better safety measures.

Are death benefits available under the Defense Base Act?

With a global economy and the privatization of United States military operations in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, there are more jobs for defense contractors overseas than ever. In the last quarter of 2018, the United States Central Command reported 49,451 contractor personnel working for the Department of Defense.

If you are a contractor or thinking of entering this field of employment, what kind of insurance benefits are available to take care of your family should the worst happen to you overseas?

The atmosphere on a ship could cause harm to workers

Being close to major waterways here in Louisiana provides a substantial amount of employment opportunities for residents. Working in a shipyard, on the docks or on a vessel provides numerous benefits, but also a wide variety of risks. One that employers should never overlook is the atmosphere on a ship, which could result in serious harm to workers.

Going into confined or enclosed spaces seems to come with the job for many Louisiana residents who work in shipyards. While these spaces are not the only areas of a ship where the quality of the atmosphere could be compromised, spending time in these smaller spaces with little to no ventilation could result in serious injuries and illnesses. Every vessel should have either an NFPA-certified Marine Chemist or a shipyard competent person.

Outdated equipment could cause injuries on oil rigs and platforms

Many people here in Louisiana work in dangerous industries. They hope their employers provide them with the latest equipment in order to help keep them safe, but that does not always happen. For instance, it is probably not that unusual to find outdated equipment on oil rigs and platforms, such as their control systems, that could easily cause serious injuries to workers.

Minor repairs are needed all the time on oil platforms. Replacing parts is certainly easier and less expensive than replacing whole systems. A complete upgrade could cost as much as $20 million. Instead of laying out that kind of money, many companies attempt to only upgrade those parts of the system they can no longer simply repair since the technologies are no longer compatible.

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