In ports, docks and piers are where ships moor themselves in order to take on or let off passengers or to load and unload cargo. With ships constantly coming and going, and with a variety of heavy machinery servicing those ships, the potential for accidents and injuries is always omnipresent. These buzzing hubs of activity are also always filled with maritime workers and longshoremen, and they often fall victim to accident and subsequent injuries in these locations. Even though the safe harbor of a dock or pier can seem just that – safe – they are all too often the site of accidents that rob these workers of their livelihood.
Even though it may seem that accidents are more likely when ships are underway, they’re just as likely when those ships are moored at a dock or a pier. In much the same way as ships themselves, these locations are filled with various things that present a safety risk to workers.
Heavy machinery, of course, presents one of the greatest risks to the health and safety of workers at docks and piers. Often, these pieces of heavy machinery are used to service boats at anchor, and they’re also used to bring hazardous materials and other cargo to and from the ships that are docked. If this heavy machinery isn’t properly operated and maintained, then it can pose serious risks both to those who operate the heavy machinery and those who are around that machinery while it is in use.
Of course, heavy machinery isn’t the only thing that poses a risk on docks and piers. As they are hubs of activity, with both cargo and passengers coming and going, accidents involving vehicles are all too common in these locations. These kinds of accidents can range from simple accidents between vehicles and those on foot to those that even involve vehicles and boats that are moored up.
Further, there are other things that pose the risk for an accident on docks and piers. Water and electricity are well known not to mix with one another, and faulty wiring can cause serious problems. Also, the docks and piers themselves can be defective, with poor construction leading to everything from a simple slip and fall accident to someone actually falling into the water. Finally, it’s even possible that fires and explosions can result due to boats refueling. These are, of course, just a sample of the possible accidents that can occur.
Like anywhere else where people work, accidents can and will happen. Although sometimes an accident can be pure happenstance, most often they involve negligence on the part of certain parties. When this is the case, those who are the victims of those accidents and those who suffer injuries are entitled to seek compensation for their injuries under the law.
What constitutes negligence is open to interpretation. For example, an accident between two vehicles on the docks could be the result of one of the vehicle’s operators driving in a reckless manner. Further, it’s possible that those who operate a dock or pier have failed to train the workers who operate on that dock in property safety protocols. These operators may also fail to properly maintain the equipment under their care and even the docks and piers themselves.
Because negligence can sometimes be difficult to assign, and because sometimes it can be difficult to prove, it’s important that you seek legal assistance when you suffer an injury due to an accident in one of these locations. A qualified maritime lawyer will be able to assess the facts in your case, and properly seek compensation for your injuries from those negligent parties that are wholly or even partially responsible.