You have worked on container ships for the better part of the last decade. It is a career that fits what you enjoy in life. You like the irregular hours, the physically demanding work and the unique lifestyle. You enjoy the job, and it pays the bills. You were always taught the value of hard work, and you have put that to good use. You're proud of what you've done.
At the same time, you understand that working on a ship is not the safest job. Whenever you tell people what you do for a living, they always ask about storms and the risk of a shipwreck. You understand the way the general public romanticizes these types of events, and you do what you can to explain how safe it is and the precautions you take.
The reality, though, is that you are more likely to get injured in a far more minor incident. Even if the risk of a catastrophic issue remains small, you face far more hazards than someone who works in an office. Below are some of the most common accidents:
- Improper lifting: This is a physical job. Lifting with your back, rather than your legs, may be tempting when you are in a rush. However, it can lead to serious back injuries. Employees should be trained in how to lift properly and given equipment for lifts that are too heavy.
- Slip and falls: The deck gets wet, the boat lists from side to side and slip-and-fall accidents happen all the time. The risk increases when using stairs, catwalks and other elevated areas. Employees need safety training and proper equipment, such as non-slip shoes.
- Chemical exposure: When working with caustic chemicals or hauling toxic materials, the risk of a spill means more than just extra clean up. Workers could suffer serious burns. There is also the risk of inhalation injuries. Employers must teach proper safety procedures at all times.
- Electrical incidents: Ships wear out over time. Wires fray. Covered wires become exposed. Electrical lines get wet in the rain or heavy waves. An electrical incident can lead to serious injuries or even become fatal.
- Machinery accidents: Container ships often use heavy machinery, such as cranes, when loading and unloading. The ship itself also contains machinery for day-to-day use. Like factory workers, employees on ships need training and safety equipment, such as hardhats, high-visibility vests and the like.
These are just five examples, but they help to show the real hazards you face in your occupation.
Have you gotten hurt on the job? If so, make sure you know all of your legal options. You may deserve compensation to help cover medical costs, lost wages and more.