In order to operate, boats require a significant amount of fuel. This is why safety is of the utmost importance when dealing with nautical vessels. The smallest mistake or moment of negligence can spark a fire that might lead to a catastrophic explosion that will injure or kill those onboard or who may be near the boat at the time of the explosion. This risk of explosion also extends to those who work onshore and offshore. Naturally, oil rigs are always at risk for an explosion accident, but so too are docks and piers where fueling stations might be located. In addition, the hazardous cargo that is sometimes carried by ships or store in onshore warehouses can pose an explosion risk.
There are myriad different factors that can contribute to an accident in a maritime environment. Most often, however, these accidents are caused by negligence on the part of an employer or operator. Whether at sea or on shore, these owners, operators and employers are required to provide workers with a safe environment. This extends to ensuring that every precaution has been taken to ensure that an explosion does not take place. For example, these parties are responsible for ensuring that all employees are trained in fire safety procedures, and that regular inspections are conducted of equipment and machinery that makes use of flammable liquids.
This is not the only way that a maritime explosion can occur. In other cases, an explosion may occur as the result of defective products or equipment. In these cases, the manufacturer or manufacturers of that equipment can be held responsible for the explosion that results from the product’s malfunctioning. This being noted, it’s important to remember that employers are duty bound to ensure that the equipment, products and tools that their employees use are in strong working condition. If an employer is aware of a defect in a particular piece of equipment but fails to act to correct that defect or to replace that piece of equipment, then they can be held equally or fully liable for an explosion that results from that piece of equipment’s malfunction.
As mentioned earlier though, virtually anything can become the underlying cause of an explosion in a maritime environment. These explosions are often catastrophic, resulting in tremendous bodily harm to workers and even death. That’s why the risks presented by explosive chemicals and gases must always be taken seriously by all parties.
The laws that apply for injured maritime workers to seek damages and compensation for their injuries suffered as the result of the explosion vary depending upon the worker and where the explosion takes place. The Jones Act covers maritime workers who suffer an explosion-related injury while on a boat that’s on navigable water, regardless of whether the worker typically works on the boat or onshore. For maritime workers who suffer an explosion related injury while onshore in the course of their duties, there is the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. However, there is an important thing to note about this act, as it doesn’t always apply in every case. That’s because there are certain places where state worker’s compensations will apply and not the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.
Because a variety of factors may contribute to an explosion in the maritime industry, and because there are a variety of different laws that may apply, it’s important to seek legal help if you are injured in such an accident. A qualified lawyer will be able to determine which laws apply, and they’ll also be able to assist with pursuing compensation from a manufacturer or manufacturers if a defective product or part is found to have contributed to the explosion.