Maritime Law Overview
Seaman's Information Regarding Maritime Injury
While on the water, people find themselves in situations that could end in accident or injury.
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Marine terminal workers are the “back bone” of interstate and international maritime commerce. Their job description is an inclusive one that involves many varied tasks and skills in a frequently dangerous and fast-paced environment under every imaginable climatic condition. They are the “manpower interface” between ships and dry land. They secure and release ships from wharves, docks and piers.
Terminal workers assist other skilled tradesman in fueling and providing shore-to-ship electrical power as well as providing fresh water supply and waste discharge hook-ups from the ship to shore facilities. They load and unload cargo from vessels using overhead cranes, winches and motorized vehicles. Once the cargo is offloaded, they are responsible for moving it to specified locations for inspection by both government officials and private corporate representatives. Finally, they move cargo to other distribution points such as railway loading points and trucking distribution facilities and equipment.
The potential for injury is significant, and the injuries can range from relatively minor (abrasions, bruises and minor lacerations) to serious and even lethal injuries. Due to the overhead movement of extremely heavy cargo, the possibility of being entangled in guide ropes and cables or being crushed by cargo is an ever-present threat. The constant movement of every imaginable type of motorized vehicle means that being either struck or run over by a truck, mobile crane, etc. is also a constant danger.
Safety standards are overseen and enforced by several groups and agencies, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). If a terminal worker is injured while working, federal regulations ensure that their medical treatment is covered, and they may also be eligible for medical disability payment for either temporary or permanent disabilities. The duration and amount of the disability compensation that the terminal worker receives will be proportional to the extent and duration of their disabling injury. Typically, the greater the disability is, the longer their compensation payments are paid.
Rules and regulations contained within the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act hold the employer (or its agents/insurance carrier) responsible for paying for an employee's medical expenses if injured on-the-job. There are significant restrictions on the health care provider a terminal worker can go to, and on the time in which they may file for a disability claim. To secure their rights under the aforementioned act, as well as securing their capacity to seek legal action against their employer in the event of culpable negligence, any terminal worker who is injured while at work is well advised to seek counsel from an attorney.