On any given day, thousands of people are out working at sea. Unfortunately, maritime accidents occur regularly, and they are not concentrated to one particular place. No matter where maritime workers are located or which types of machinery they use, they are at risk of being involved in accidents. By understanding the most common places where maritime accidents occur, workers can plan accordingly. Still, even if a certain location does not make the list, all maritime workers should be conscientious about maintaining safe working conditions. Sadly, some things are beyond workers' control. When injuries happen, those maritime workers need a Jones Act lawyer to ensure that their rights are protected. A few of the most common places where maritime accidents occur include:
- Underwater - Most of the work that is done at sea happens above water. Still, workers may also be located on drill ships, jack ups and submersibles. These and other types of equipment leave them susceptible to being injured while underwater. Submersible oil rig maintenance diving vessels are a prime example. Drill ships and jack ups may be tossed around in rough seas and cause injuries to workers. Common culprits include faulty diving air pressure systems, deep water gas leaks and explosions and defective hatch seals.
- Offshore Oil Rigs - Offshore rigs are filled with parts, equipment and components that can lead to serious injuries and even death. Oil rig gas leaks can cause catastrophic explosions. Injuries can also happen due to defective machinery and worn-out parts. Overworked oil rig workers can cause serious safety hazards for themselves and others. Sometimes, insufficient platform safety training procedures are to blame.
- On the Deck - A variety of hazards await those who work on the decks of various ocean-going vessels. Workers often fall from slippery catwalks and wet stairways. Unsecured ladders slip and cause serious injuries and deaths. Workers are at risk of being struck by falling objects, raised loads, swinging cables and other hazards. They lose fingers and entire hands in hoists, cables and winches. When the seas are rough, workers are at risk of falling through open hatches.
- Barges - Barges do not move under their own steam; they are towed. As a result, they are not able to maneuver very quickly. This leads to very hazardous working conditions and increases the odds of collisions at sea. The risks are even greater when there are rusted bolts and other poorly maintained parts. Under-trained, negligent captains put workers at risk too.
- Marine Cranes - Maritime attorneys are often called on to assist workers who have been injured on marine cranes. Injuries typically occur due to issues like faulty crane wiring, malfunctioning winches and defective crane parts. The entire crane may be faulty and ultimately collapse, which can result in the injury and death of those who work on them. Crane operators do not always receive enough training, and their lack of skill and knowledge puts workers at even greater risk.
Regardless of where they happen, maritime accidents are often quite serious. They result in injuries to workers' backs, necks, heads, feet, hands, shoulders and many other parts of the body. Injuries like burns and concussions are often completely preventable, and it is not unusual for wrongful death to occur too. With these points in mind, it is crucial for injured workers on oil rigs, marine cranes and other offshore equipment and vessels to seek qualified representation. Offshore injury lawyers understand the unique conditions under which these people work and are familiar with the regulations that are imposed on the industry. Without qualified legal representation, workers run the risk of not being properly compensated for the injuries they incur. No matter where maritime accidents occur, steps should be taken to ensure they do not happen again, and filing a lawsuit is often the best course of action.