How going overboard can cause permanent maritime worker injuries

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2024 | Uncategorized |

Maritime employees accept a variety of job hazards regardless of their specific profession. Whether they are a welder helping to maintain a vessel or a tour guide providing insight and entertainment to passengers, a professional working out on the ocean is in a very dangerous environment.

Not only do vessels and the equipment utilized in maritime professions create their own injury hazards, but the ocean is a constant source of risk. All it takes is a worker losing balance or a storm blowing in for a maritime employee to end up going overboard.

Such scenarios can prove tragic, as workers die in some cases. Even in cases where other maritime workers rescue someone who has gone overboard, they could very easily lose their ability to continue working after going overboard. The following are the most common reasons that workers who go overboard may become unable to continue their careers.

Severe traumatic injuries

Depending on the size of a vessel and the height from which a worker falls, hitting the water can cause severe traumatic injuries. Maritime workers can break bones or develop traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) from the force of impact when they fall into the water. In some scenarios, those injuries may be severe enough to cause permanent functional limitations. The lingering consequences of such injuries could prevent someone from fulfilling job responsibilities in a maritime environment.

Injuries related to oxygen deprivation

A variety of different scenarios could lead to a worker who goes overboard experiencing an extended period of oxygen deprivation. The human brain can only go so long without steady oxygen supply before damage occurs. Typically, it only takes three to five minutes for someone to be at risk of permanent brain damage after going underwater. Someone who survives a near-drowning may have permanent aftereffects ranging from changes in their sense of equilibrium and motor function to difficulties with cognition or memory.

Psychological trauma

A dangerous incident in an offshore environment can cause profound psychological changes in a worker. Intense fears that deregulate them in a dangerous environment or symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder could make maritime employment inappropriate for someone who has gone overboard. While many people can recover from the psychological effects of a job incident with treatment, others may develop more severe symptoms that affect their chances of returning to work.

Maritime workers have a completely different system for addressing work injury expenses than those working on shore. Thankfully, discussing the scenario that has left a maritime worker unable to return to their job with a skilled legal team could help them explore their options.