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Oakland California Maritime Law Blog

When do ship masters need to report illnesses?

Because commercial vessels sail between numerous ports, they can serve as vectors of disease. A single vessel could bring disease from foreign ports to domestic shores, and lawmakers have long recognized this threat. That’s why there are laws for reporting illnesses.

Especially during an outbreak of global concern, these reporting laws aim to safeguard everyone working on the docks, in the ports and in the general populace who could potentially be exposed.

Why are container ships so dangerous?

Container ships transport roughly 90% of the world’s goods. Thousands of them sail the seas every day. They provide work for hundreds of thousands of sailors and crew. And they claim the lives of thousands.

According to some estimates, roughly 2,000 seafarers die every year. But why should these people lose their lives? Humans have been traversing the seas for thousands of years. We’ve made countless technological advances. Yet the ocean remains the world’s deadliest workplace.

Fishing ranks as the nation’s second deadliest industry

Commercial fishing has long ranked among the nation’s most dangerous industries, and that still holds true today.

A CNBC survey of the ten deadliest careers, released at the end of 2019, once again found commercial fishing ranked right near the top. This time, it took the number two spot. And this begs the question: What makes fishing so dangerous?

Common shipboard injuries and how to recover from them

Commercial shipping is among the world’s most dangerous industries. Even though humans have sailed for thousands of years, we have not yet tamed the sea, nor rid our ships of all possible hazards.

That means you want to stay mindful of the dangers that surround you. You work to make a living, and you can’t allow injuries to interrupt your income. But you can reduce the chances of any such interruption by learning the most common causes of shipboard injuries and by learning your options for recovery.

6 mistakes to avoid after you are injured at sea

When you work in a maritime industry, you are surrounded by workplace hazards. As a result, you likely received safety training to help you avoid workplace accidents. But accidents can happen despite our best intentions. This makes it a good idea to also learn how to act in case of an injury.

The Jones Act may be the most well-known of the nation's maritime laws, but it's not the only one. Maritime cases may draw upon any of a variety of laws, meaning it's easy for injured workers to be confused or make mistakes. So, here are six common mistakes to avoid if you are injured at sea or during other maritime work.

How should crew deal with outbreaks at sea?

Though it originated in China, the coronavirus outbreak has now become a global problem.

Quarantines in China, Singapore, South Korea, Russia, Australia and elsewhere have dramatically impacted the shipping industry. Ports have refused to let tanker crews transfer off their ships. And a handful of passengers have spread the virus to hundreds of others aboard several cruise ships.

Ergonomic injury risks for commercial fishermen

As a California resident who makes your living working on a commercial fishing vessel, you probably understand all too well just how dangerous your job is. While spending the day on unpredictable coastal waters presents numerous dangers, many of the injuries faced by commercial fisherman develop over time, much in the same way they do for professionals who spend long days working on computers or otherwise performing repetitive tasks. At the Law Offices of Lyle C. Cavin Jr. & Associates, we have seen just how common ergonomic injuries are among those who make their living at sea, and we have helped many people suffering from these and other work-related injuries pursue solutions that meet their needs.

Per the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, the repetitive actions associated with fishing, hauling in catches and performing related tasks can place a serious strain on your neck, back, shoulders and other body parts. While maintaining proper workplace ergonomics can help mitigate your risk of suffering repetitive strain injuries, back stresses and similar problems, the nature of your job as a commercial fishing professional exposes you, nonetheless, to these types of injuries.

Maritime workers can seek special benefits after injury

As a seaman, you may be entitled to maintenance, cure if you are hurt on the job. People who work at sea or within the maritime industry and suffer injuries on the job have additional benefits. These include the entitlement to pay for medical treatment. You also have a right to negligence and unseaworthiness claims, in some cases. 

Are you at risk of falling on your ship?

Employees are frequently injured by falls at their workplaces in California and elsewhere. When it comes to falls on the job, people might consider those that occur at industries based on land, such as the construction industry, the nursing field and even office jobs. Less commonly considered, but certainly not less important, are falls that you can experience while working on a container ship.

The last week of September has been designated Fall Prevention Awareness Week by the Fall Prevention Center of Excellence. This organization and many others understand the importance of being aware of the fall risks in your industry and taking measures to reduce or eliminate hazards. There are many opportunities to slip, trip or fall on the ship you work on, including the following:

  • Falling from a ladder while you are securing cargo or performing ship maintenance and repairs
  • Tripping over an electrical cord or other equipment or debris left on deck or in a corridor
  • Slipping on deck when the surface is wet from rain or seawater
  • Losing your balance during rough seas
  • Falling from a ramp or dock

How do maritime workers get compensation for work injuries?

You love sailing and being on the open ocean, but it's a dangerous environment. There are hazards to the job, just like there are dangers no matter where you work.

If you get hurt at work, there are potentially a number of ways that you can obtain compensation.

Begin Your Recovery Today

  • Whether you are a maritime professional or were injured on a cruise ship, our attorneys can help. We have represented clients from every West Coast port city, including Oakland (where we’re based), San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Long Beach, San Pedro and San Diego. We also serve clients from the Gulf Coast.

  • To speak with one of our maritime lawyers, call the Law Offices of Lyle C. Cavin, Jr. & Associates in Oakland at 510-291-4743, 888-340-7991 or contact us online.

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