Broken Bones and Maritime Laws

How do maritime industry workers break bones? That may sound like a strange question, but the list of ways in which workers are injured, and how many of these things lead to broken bones, is astonishing. Consider that workers can:

  • Fall overboard
  • Fall or trip
  • Slip
  • Sustain head injuries
  • Be struck by heavy equipment, gear or cargo

In all of these instances, though, you might realize that none of the things that lead to the broken bones were in your control, and this is a big issue.

Are There Laws About Maritime Work and Broken Bones?

In order to prevent injuries of all kinds, and to protect workers as much as possible, there are federal and industry safety standards that all maritime employers are supposed to follow. Within these standards are requirements that the employers themselves must proactively adhere to. For example, regular safety checks and surprise inspections are meant to detect any laxity in employee adherence to codes or protocols while also ensuring the employer is doing all that they can to keep things safe.

When someone sustains broken bones on the job, the laws allow the injured person to receive maintenance and care via financial compensation for lost hours, medical expenses, and so on. However, they may need to use the help of a qualified attorney to get what is due to them. Additionally, when the broken bones are due to neglect on the part of the employer, there is a lot more compensation due to the injured parties.

Not Just Workers’ Compensation

The maritime workplace is already one that is far more dangerous than other situations, and when an employer is not actively maintaining the best standards and practices possible it can lead to an almost certain accident and injuries. Because of this, several special sets of laws were created to uphold a worker’s right to be compensated when their maritime employer is at fault. The Jones Act is one set of laws, and the Longshore Harbor and Workers’ Compensation Act is another. There are also many publications through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that detail the expected protocols for every maritime industry area. (, 2015)

These are in place to provide a worker with a way of pursuing compensation when their employer is at fault for broken bones and injuries. And by being at fault, it can mean:

  • The employer failed to properly train employees in safety.
  • The employer neglected to inspect, maintain, and repair equipment or gear that led to an injury.
  • The employer regularly demands workers to put in extensive hours leaving them exhausted and ill-prepared to do the job safely.
  • The employer ignores or neglects to treat all slipper surfaces with anti-skid coatings.
  • The employer does not institute policies that ensure that walkways are free of debris or anything that can cause a fall or trip.
  • The employer does not provide security features such as railings and hand bars to prevent falling.
  • The employer does not have policies in place to prevent workers from being put into dangerous conditions while at sea or on shore (such as staying indoors during rough conditions, and so on).

Keep in mind that these are but a few ways that a maritime employer can be proven to be negligent and at fault for an employee’s broken bones and other injuries.

No one should be put at risk to bring home a decent paycheck, and there are laws in place to ensure that this is the case. However, if you are someone who works in the maritime industry and you have sustained broken bones through no fault of your own, and while on the job, you must speak with a knowledgeable attorney immediately. They can review the case and help you determine what compensation is due, and then help you obtain it.