Houstan Maritime Accidents: Dangers on Inland Waterways

Dennis Sullivan

Working on inland waterways is a hard but rewarding job. If you work in one of these jobs, you know that you’re constantly exposed to hazardous conditions like extreme temperatures, weather, tight spaces, and lots of heavy lifting. It’s no wonder that workers at marine terminals face some of the highest mortality rates in the country.

With that in mind, if you work in the inland waterways, it’s important that you are aware of the types of risks inherent in your job. After all, there’s a reason that there’s a body of maritime law that addresses the handling of injuries and fatalities.

Not up to date? You’ve come to the right place. Read on to learn about common maritime accidents and injuries.

Slip and Falls

Slip and falls are one of the most common workplace injuries in any workplace, but when you work in the maritime industry, your risk is even higher. Safety standards are high in the industry but accidents still happen.

Keep an eye out for oily surfaces when you’re walking. Expect that decks and other walkways will be uneven, slippery, and full of items that may trip you if you’re not watching for them. 

Slip and fall injuries hurt more than your pride. They can also result in spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and concussions.

Poor Training

It is your employer’s job to make sure that each employee has the proper safety training. That doesn’t always happen, which is why poor training is a major cause of maritime accidents and injuries. If you aren’t familiar with how to do a job safely, make sure that you ask your employer to provide training on it before you start doing the work.

Weak Ladders and Railings

Ladders and railings are some of the most important tools you’ll use on the job. You want them to be sturdy enough to support a wide range of weights.

Ladders that give out as you climb up or down them are a huge risk. You’ll want to ensure the stability of the ladder, checking to make sure it doesn’t fall while you’re on it or in the rigging. Set it up on a secure surface and use the buddy system when Similarly, railings need to be sturdy enough to protect you and your co-workers from falling.

Unsecured Cargo

If you work on a cargo ship, you know important it is to secure cargo. High winds and rough water can cause unsecured cargo to topple. Cargo that’s not properly stored is a risk to both the ship workers and the cargo itself.

Unsecured cargo can fall onto ship workers, leading to concussions or even fatalities. This risk is exponentially higher if hazardous materials are on board.

Helicopter Accidents

Helicopters are important to maritime work. They help bring supplies and manpower to work sites, but they come with their own set of risks. Helicopters with defective parts can be hard to control, causing a crash.

Bad weather and pilot error can cause injury to both those on the helicopter and maritime workers. It is important that all helicopters receive proper maintenance and that the pilot is up to date on training. 

Bad Weather

Bad weather is a risk for workers in a lot of industries, but even more so in the maritime industry. Ship and dockworkers in the rivers that feed the Gulf and along the east coast have to deal with the strong winds and torrential rains from hurricanes. Rivers further inland deal with cold winters and unstable tornado seasons.

Whether it’s raining, snowing, or there’s a heatwave, you should always take the appropriate safety precautions to avoid injury.

Crane Injuries

Cranes are a necessary risk if you work on a cargo ship. They help load and unload the ship while at the port. This makes injuries from lifting heavy cargo less of a risk, but crane operators face a significant risk of injury if the crane fails or operator error occurs.

Repetitive Use Injuries

Maritime workers frequently perform jobs that require them to make the same motion repeatedly. Repetitive use injuries are extremely common in this industry.

The body parts most at risk from overexertion and repetitive motion disorder include the back, legs and feet, ankles, neck, and hips. Make sure to follow proper safety procedures and take breaks when necessary to prevent injury.

You Can Recover from Maritime Accidents

This is only a shortlist of potential maritime accidents and injuries that you may suffer while working in inland waterways. For the most part, proper safety training and the upkeep of equipment and work areas goes a long way to preventing these accidents. Thankfully, even if safety measures fail or the unexpected happens, you have options available to help you recover from your injuries.

Were you injured in a maritime accident? Make sure you have an attorney behind you who will help you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to see how we can help you!

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