The Risk of Longshoreman Injuries

A longshoreman is often confused with a stevedore, but they are actually different. A longshoreman is primarily a dockworker who loads and unloads cargo. The term “longshoreman” comes from the colonial times phrase “men along the shore” or “alongshoremen.” A stevedore supervises dockworkers, and may be an individual or a company. The term is derived from the Spanish “estibador” which means someone who stuffs. But the terms are used interchangeably, although when it comes to occupational hazards, they are called longshoreman injuries.

Aside from loading and unloading cargo, longshoremen also do ship repair, bridge building and other duties. Because of the multitude of tasks they perform and the hazards they face, they are paid a premium rate. An experienced, unionized longshoreman may be paid as much as $20 an hour. However, longshore work and related maritime industry occupations are considered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to be among the most hazardous occupations in the US. An average of 350 workers in this industry suffers serious work-related injuries every year. The most common longshoreman injuries are accidents involving equipment and machines, drowning, and slips and falls.

Some of the common injuries occur because of unsafe work environments. Working close to the water means the work surface is slippery. Defective equipment and inadequate safety procedures and gear also add to the risk of longshoreman injuries. In response, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration came up with regulations in 2011 to promote a safer working environment including lighting standards, first-aid training, hazardous materials training and safe motor vehicle operation. According to the website of Pohl and Berk, LLP, employers have a duty to ensure the safety of their workers as much as possible, and should use these regulations to accomplish this. When employees are hurt on the job, the employers may be held liable, especially if the accident resulted from a dangerous situation onsite.

However, some employers fail to follow these regulations and expose their workers to the risk of longshoreman injuries unnecessarily. Workers who suffer from this negligence can avail of federal and civil solutions to get compensation for these injuries. People shouldn’t have to fear being injured at work due to overly dangerous job conditions beyond those which are reasonable for the job at hand.

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Road Crashes a Significant Factor in Oilfield Accidents

There is a growing body of evidence that indicates road travel off shift may be more hazardous than working in an oil field. Between 2003 and 2009, there were 716 work-related oil and gas extraction industry deaths, a fatality rate of 27.5 for every 100,000 workers. This is seven times the fatality rate for all US workers. Curiously, the incidence rate of oilfield accidents with nonfatal injuries for the same period is 1.2 for every 100 full time workers, about one-third of the rate for all US workers at 3.5 injuries per 100 full time workers.

Of the fatalities, 208 were due to motor vehicle crashes. Other common causes include being hit by a tool or equipment (143), explosions (58), crushed by moving equipment (50) and falls (43). As the number of active oil fields increase, so do the number of fatalities and serious accidents, and are likely to get worse as the high demand for workers, especially in Texas, means less experienced workers are getting hired and working longer hours. Oil field workers have an increased rate of workplace injury and death due to employer negligence.

The finding that highway accidents are the biggest contributor to oil field accidents is perhaps not really surprising. The combined effect of fatigue and highway safety rules exemptions for oil field workers has been a major factor in these fatalities. Oil field workers work an average of 20 hours per shift, and then are expected to drive after their shift. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, oilfield workers and related fields are 8.5 times more at risk of dying in a vehicle crash than those in other industries. This startling figure could be altered for the better if only these workers were allowed to get enough rest.

If you or someone close to you sustained injury or death because of employer pressure to work longer than is safe, you may have an actionable case. Contact personal injury lawyers experienced in handling cases involving oil field accidents to find out your options. According to the website of Pohl & Berk, LLP, work-related injuries due to companies pushing their employees too hard for too long are inexcusable. While the overtime pay may be attractive, workers are often unaware of the effects exhaustion may have in their ability to continue working safely. Employers, however, should be aware of these kinds of dangers and would be negligent not to.

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