What happens if I get injured while working in heavy weather?

On Behalf of | Mar 4, 2024 | Commercial Seamen |

Working as a seafarer has its share of risks and hazards. During the storm season in California, the weather drastically changes, involving heavy rain, strong wind, high surf, thunderstorms and flooding. While working in an unpredictable setting like the seas, your safety should always be the priority.

Minimizing the risk of injuries

The weather has a significant impact on your working conditions. It makes all seafarers’ tasks more dangerous, especially those in moving vessels. Consider these factors when working in heavy weather:

  • Vessel motion caused by strong wind and waves increases the risk of falling. It could also cause other items onboard to roll around, hitting crew members. When working in a moving vessel during heavy weather, ensure that you have proper safety gear and that all moving objects are secured.
  • Housekeeping issues like spills, leaks, unsecured floorplates, fused lights and others can pose further hazards to seafarers. Owners should ensure that their vessel’s conditions are well-maintained.
  • There should be protocols such as working in pairs, wearing protective gear and having a communication line when working in heavy weather conditions.

What is the Jones Act?

The ship’s master is responsible for assessing the condition before sending a crew to work in heavy weather. If your master has asked you to work under extreme weather conditions and you sustained an injury, it could be a basis for legal filing under the Jones Act.

The Jones Act protects people working on vessels, like tugboats, barges and rigs, if they get injured at sea. It holds vessel owners, ship masters or fellow crew members accountable for the injury you incurred. If negligence caused your injury, you could get compensation for your medical and daily living expenses until your full recovery.

Weather conditions could be unpredictable at times. Seafarers face significant risks during heavy weather conditions, and safety precautions must be in place to prevent accidents at sea. If you were injured while working during extreme weather but did not get the compensation you deserve, reach out to an experienced maritime lawyer to guide you on your possible next steps.