The handling and managing of bulk freight aboard a cargo ship occur largely via automation. However, commercial seamen must still work with and near cargo as part of their job duties. Unfortunately, working around dry bulk freight can expose these seamen to many potential injury hazards.
When you understand the risks associated with your occupation, you have the best odds of avoiding a severe injury or illness. Becoming familiar with the available remedies after a maritime accident or injury is also wise.
What are some often unforeseen bulk cargo hazards?
The cargo contained in bulk shipments is not packed for consumers. These containers are massive and may weigh several tons when loaded. When freight is managed incorrectly, the commercial seamen aboard these vessels could suffer catastrophic and life-threatening injuries. Bulk freight hazards associated with commercial ships include:
- Falling cargo. Death is the likely outcome if a heavy load falls on a worker. Even if the seaman survives, they will probably have significant injuries.
- Cargo dust. Inhaling dust particles produced by bulk freight can lead to health conditions. Further, certain forms of dust result in dangerous respiratory conditions upon inhalation.
- Oxygen depletion. Some types of bulk cargo can deplete the oxygen from an area, replacing it with toxic gases that may pose substantial health and fatality risks. Examples include agricultural materials, paper pulp and wood products.
- Fires and explosions. Bulk freight such as sulfur, coal and cotton sometimes heat spontaneously. Under the right conditions, spontaneous heating can cause combustion, fires or explosions.
Know the risks if you want to be a commercial seaman. You should also learn more about your legal options in California and along the western seaboard if an injury or illness occurs.