If you asked the general public what the riskiest thing about working at sea was, they’d probably answer it was the risk of drowning.
While falling overboard is a serious concern and can often be fatal, it can usually be prevented fairly easily (although exceptions can always occur). Besides, many ships are so big and stable that falling off them is highly unlikely anyway.
The biggest risks are actually similar to those when working on land
It’s the little things that you would worry about in any workplace. The things that probably won’t kill you could still leave you off work for weeks or months – or even leave you with a lifelong disability. Here are some of them:
1. Lifting injuries
Ship work is heavy work. Employers should train you in proper lifting procedures and use machinery and mechanics to reduce how much moving of heavy objects you need to do so as to reduce the chance of back problems.
2. Trips and slips
A loose rope, a poorly mopped floor or an unmarked step could all send you sprawling. Depending on what you hit, you might just get up and brush it off, or you could break a bone or split your head open, injuring your brain.
3. Chemical burns
Boats use toxic chemicals for cleaning. Mixing up bottles, mixing ingredients or spilling contents could cause serious harm to your eyes or skin or worse.
4. Injuries from tools
Power tools are always a hazard in any situation. The noise can cause long-term hearing damage, vibrations could cause tendon damage, and flying pieces and spinning blades can injure limbs and eyes.
You do not need to wait for a major marine accident to claim compensation. You may still be entitled if you suffer one of those listed above.