Marine construction operations rely heavily on spud barges (also called jack-up barges), and these are known as some of the more hazardous working environments imaginable. (DNLSalvage.com, 2015) Not only are they floating construction sites but they also use gear that actually pile drives “spuds” into place in order to secure a much larger platform (such as oil and gas platforms). This all translates to the threat or risk of injury on the job, but it is never inevitable that someone doing this work will be harmed. Just because you may work on a spud barge, it does not automatically mean that you should expect to be hurt at some point in your career.
Why not? Because groups such as OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) have safety standards that all employers and vessel owners are obliged to uphold. These standards cut down on the risks to the workers and create systems that ensure that the workplace is as low risk as it can possibly be. However, even with these federally mandated safety standards in place, accidents, injuries, disabilities, and deaths still occur.
It does not matter how minor or major any spud barge accident may have been, if it was due to some sort of negligence on the part of the owner, employer or other party, the maritime laws provide those injured with ways to seek compensation. For example, people working on spud barges have been known to be harmed or killed after being hit by loose objects or gear, they may suffer injuries from explosions, and they may also fall after being caught in lines or from an unsafe ladder.
The ways that spud barge accidents can occur can lead to a single person being injured or to large numbers of the crew being harmed. In any instance, though, it is entirely possible that the incident could have been avoided had all safety standards and rules been followed.
If you work on a spud barge and have been injured in an accident of any kind, you will need to pursue compensation. While you will automatically receive maintenance and cure (in most cases), you may not get the compensation required to handle lost wages, a disability, or emotional trauma to you or your surviving dependents. If the incident was the result of negligence, the laws are on your side and will view negligent parties are liable.
Of course, the burden of proof is always going to be on those injured. In other words, you may have to discover how negligence led to the accident and then prove that this is what indeed led to your being injured, or to your loved one being killed. And this is where maritime lawyers are your best allies. These are professionals with a lot of experience handling cases of your kind. They know all about the various types of maritime law, such as the Jones Act and admiralty laws, and they will be able to help you build an iron clad case that can get you the compensation due to you, or your loved ones.
Don’t assume that a dangerous job comes without any sort of protection for you in the event of an injury or loss. A maritime lawyer can help you determine what sort of compensation to seek and how to go about claiming it. Though it won’t be easy, it will be well worth the efforts, and the laws are on your side. Spud barge accidents happen, but when they are due to no fault of yours, you shouldn’t struggle with your injuries, disabilities, or losses.