Commercial fishing is a big industry and a source of income for many people. While it is an essential part of the national and local economy and most companies take safety seriously, it still presents several risks.
One of the most common causes of worker injuries on commercial fishing boats is falls. Any fall can be serious, causing devastating injuries and even fatalities. They often result in lost time at work and significant medical costs. Families who have someone die because of this will have emotional, financial and personal consequences to deal with.
Some accidents are just that, unexpected and unpreventable. However, it is important to consider if the employer adhered to the proper safety procedures regarding fall protection. This is an imperative factor when attempting to seek compensation.
Adhering to the Coast Guard and OSHA regulations is required
When a fishing vessel is taken out on the water, those on board have more to do than catch fish. It is necessary for the vessel being used for fishing to be cleaned, maintained, repaired, overhauled and altered while on the water. In many cases, this requires workers to be at great heights, which is when falls often occur.
An example is if a hull needs welding. A fishing boat worker must handle this, where falls are a serious risk. The law states that workers just five feet over a solid surface or water (at any distance) must be provided fall protection. The right equipment must be used, which includes a fall arrest or restraint system.
The long-term impact of a maritime fall injury
If it is found that a company or employee did not adhere to the fall protection standards, it may be possible to recover compensation for the injuries and damages that arise. Maritime workers need to know their legal rights in these situations.