The Primary Causes of Maritime Accidents

Maritime accidents continue to be among the most common sources of injury for longshoremen, seamen, anchor handlers, and others who work in and around seafaring shipping vessels. Decades of research show that many of these accidents can be prevented. In fact, since human error or negligence is involved in approximately three-quarters of all maritime accidents, paying attention to the correct safety precautions goes a long way toward reducing injuries in the maritime industry. Such precautions include the proper training of workers both onshore and off, establishing a comprehensive safety plan, informing workers of the consequences of human mistakes and inattentiveness, and much more. The work of maritime law firms has been indispensable in helping the maritime industry to identify the major causes of its accidents and for developing policies and procedures to prevent injuries and death at sea. These firms have also provided much education on the process that should be followed in the unfortunate event of an accident. In cases of employer negligence, workers who are injured at sea or in a sea-related industry are often eligible for restitution under the Jones Act of 1920. A Jones Act lawyer who is trained to recognize employer negligence in relation to the causes behind a maritime accident is best equipped to help those injured at sea. Some of the most common causal factors in maritime accidents, many of which may qualify injured personnel for compensation, include: 1. Improper Training–Far and away, the most significant contributor to maritime accidents is improper training of employees or the placement of employees in jobs for which they are simply not qualified. For example, incorrectly trained crane operators have caused accidents by positioning cranes and loads incorrectly, not paying attention to signs that a maritime crane is on the brink of collapse, and so forth. Given the frequency with which cranes are used to load and offload cargo, construct drilling platforms and perform other functions, the proper training of crane operators is particularly important and helps prevent maritime fatalities. 2. Negligence–Sheer negligence is perhaps the second most frequent cause of maritime accidents. Workers who do not abide by their company’s established safety regulations ensure that it is only a matter of time before a problem occurs and somebody is seriously injured or killed. Even worse, however, are the sea-related firms that do not put a safety plan in place or that halfheartedly follow the regulations they have established. In addition to proper training, having well-established procedures for ensuring that safety standards are followed is probably the best way to reduce the potential for accidents. Such procedures would include regular educational opportunities regarding workplace safety for employees and consistent inspections of barges and other ships for things such as rusty bolts and other potential hull failures. 3. Faulty EquipmentThe best-trained crews in the world can help companies and individuals avoid maritime accidents. However, any maritime attorney will tell you that even the most talented workers cannot do much if their equipment is faulty. Unfortunately, there is not a lot that can be done if faulty equipment is installed, but there are many avenues for compensation under the Jones Act when maritime law firms are able to prove that an accident was caused by a manufacturer’s negligence. 4. Bad Weather–Finally, one should not underestimate the power of mother nature in causing maritime accidents. Maritime law firms must regularly deal with claims related to problems caused by bad weather, and while there is little that an employer could have done in many situations to prevent injury, there are also more situations than you realize where injuries related to a natural event could have been prevented by proactive and attentive company officials. There are many reasons for maritime accidents, some of which entitle workers to compensation. The best way to be sure of your rights after an accident at sea is to contact a maritime attorney.