The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recognizes the long list of risks posed to those who work in shipyards. From the welding and cutting to the electrical work and pipe fitting to the handling of chemicals of all kinds, there are many ways that people at shipyards can be exposed to danger and the threat of serious injury or death. Because of that, OSHA has created a lot of safety standards that are to be followed by those working in shipyards, running them, or involved in their management in any way.
Consider that the activities that occur in shipyards, and which can lead to shipyard accidents, include such basic things as transportation (vehicles commonly experience accidents making their way through a shipyard – including collisions with pedestrians), painting and solvent accidents, slips and falls from decking and ladders, welding work, and more.
There is so much involved in maintaining safety at a shipyard that OSHA has a full-blown report or manual about these places. (OSHA.gov, 1998) Even so, scores of people are gravely injured or even killed during shipyard accidents, and often it is not due to a set of unfortunate circumstances but to actual negligence. This could be negligence on the part of a worker, but also something due to a vessel owner or employer ignoring the safety standards or neglecting to ensure they are followed.
If negligence does occur (knowingly or unknowingly) and an accident causes workers to be injured or even killed, the maritime laws ensure that those injured can seek compensation. It does not matter if it was a major explosion or a simple slip and fall leading to a broken arm, if negligence led to an incident that led to injury, the workers are protected by the laws.
Now, you may feel that as someone working in a bustling and dangerous place that injury is just something to expect. While there is a certain logic to that, you must realize that you should never just accept any sort of pain, injury or suffering caused by your employer’s negligence (or that of another party). You must pursue adequate compensation at such times, but you will need help to do it.
The burden of proof lies on the person injured, and this is something that can be very challenging to uncover. How can you prove that an employer, vessel owner, or other party was negligent, and that this led to the accident? The good news is that you don’t have to figure this out. There are maritime lawyers who specialize in this sort of work and who know exactly how to start exploring the incident and how to take your claim forward.
For instance, your employer may have relied on a team of workers without adequate training or supervision to do work that they shouldn’t have done. If this is somehow related to your accident and injury, it is negligence. Of course, an employer might have asked people to work for too many hours or to use equipment that was not properly inspected or maintained. They could have been asking people to work in bad conditions, overly crowded spaces, or without appropriate safety systems in place.
There are many ways that negligence occurs and leads to shipyard accidents. You don’t have to do all of the investigating to uncover the truth. Instead, turn to a knowledgeable maritime lawyer who will help you figure out who is to blame and how to pursue compensation. The law is on your side, and so you need an expert in the law to get the best results.