July 2012 #2


july 2012

Most merchant mariners are well versed in the need to be on the lookout for slick or wet decks, but it is equally important to ensure the ship's ladders are safe for use. A lack of non-skid or diamond plating on ladder rungs can be a recipe for disaster. The crewmember is placing his foot on a smaller surface as he climbs which, in the absence of a skid resistant surface can make even a small slip much more difficult from which to recover. Falls from vertical ladders often pose a greater risk of harm than a fall on a slippery deck. Portable ladders present their own dangers if not rigged properly, tied off or have worn footings. Inspect before each use.

Shipping companies often overlook the need for non-skid material on vertical ladders and this has resulted in serious injury to crewmembers. Before using any ladder make a visual inspection to assure that they are safe. If you notice a dangerous or slippery rung, bring it to the attention of your superior immediately. Ideally, put your observations in writing including the date you observed the dangerous ladder, the location of the ladder and a description of the potential hazard. Keep a copy of your report because you may need to rely on it after a fall involving injury to yourself or another crewmember.


Dear Mr. Cavin,

Recently I served on a vessel where I noted several safety violations. I told my superior, but he told me there is not enough time to fix everything. What should I have done?

Quinn F. - Henderson, NV

Dear Quinn,
Ships are a dangerous place to work when everything is in proper order let alone when there are ignored hazards that may arise. Be sure to raise your concerns at the safety meetings and that your points are included in the monthly safety meeting minutes. The best way to protect yourself and your crewmates is to ensure there is a paper trail concerning any and all safety issues. If you feel your concerns are being ignored call my office and we will help you take steps to rectify the problem.

About Our Law Firm

For more than four decades, merchant mariners, longshoremen, fishermen and harbor workers plying their trades at sea, on the docks, on our U.S. coastal waters and inland waterways have turned to the maritime law firm of Lyle C. Cavin, Jr. & Associates in Oakland. Today, we are proud to be recognized as one of the preeminent maritime law firms serving injured marine workers nationwide, as well as one of the most successful personal injury litigation firms serving victims of negligence in the San Francisco Bay Area and throughout the West Coast.

Team Approach to Every Personal Injury and Jones Act Claim

When you retain Lyle C. Cavin, Jr. & Associates with a Jones Act injury claim or personal injury claim, you don't get just one attorney, you get our entire team of dedicated professionals. Our attorneys offer more than 150 combined years of courtroom and negotiated claims settlement experience. We will represent your interests with unwavering dedication, speed and expertise.