Attorneys for the maritime worker
since 1970

October 2016

Beware Of Vibratory Tools


Routine maintenance such as chipping paint, rust and scale from decks, bulwarks and rails by using vibratory tools such as chippers and needle guns can cause serious injuries. Often these jobs are unavoidable and so routine that many people do not realize the danger they pose. The manufacturers of these tools have very strict safety guidelines on how to properly use them to reduce the risk of injury. We have found that most shipowners are not aware of these guidelines or they simply choose not to follow them. As a result, many of our clients now suffer from severe nerve and vascular damage caused by overuse of these tools. If you have numbness, tingling or pain in your hands, wrists or arms, please seek immediate medical attention. There are steps you can take to prevent or minimize the damage. If untreated, surgery is usually the only option, and often not successful where long term exposure has occurred.

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Question From The Bridge

Paul, This trip I’ve been asked to do a lot of chipping, especially during overtime. My hands and fingers have started tingling and going numb. I told the chief mate but he didn’t seem too concerned about it. Should I report this as an injury? I don’t want to lose my job. Thanks, Paul N. Charlotte, NC .

Stop using any tool if you are experiencing numbness or tingling! There are often very strict guidelines established by the manufacturers that limit the time you should be using them, when to take breaks, and to wear specific safety gloves. Ask to see the owner’s manual and safety manual that came with the vibratory tool and follow the guidelines in it. Overuse of these tools can result in permanent injuries and prevent you from returning to sea.

Temporary Address Change

We have relocated to San Francisco while our new Oakland space undergoes renovation from fire damage. We have offices on both sides of the Bay to serve you! Look for our Oakland opening sometime in late spring. In the meantime, please contact us at

The Law Offices of Cavin and Marks, Jr.
535 Pacific Avenue, Suite 100
San Francisco, CA 94133

Our phone and fax remain the same
Ph: 510-291-4743

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 Law Offices of Cavin and Marks, 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 Law Offices of Cavin and Marks, Jr. & Associates for 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.