As a Texas maritime employer, your workers face a high risk of experiencing a work-related injury or fatality. The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, addresses what you have to do as an employer when it comes to creating and maintaining a safe, comfortable place for them to work.
According to PBS, the Jones Act requires that you do the following to help keep your maritime workers safe on the job.
Keep your vessel free from defects
If one of your workers suffers an on-the-job injury because you or a supervisor neglected to maintain a safe work environment, the Jones Act gives that employee a possible way to hold you accountable. To do so, your worker has to show that you were aware that the vessel your employees worked on was inadequate. Workers also have to show that the issue with the vessel is what was responsible for their maritime injury.
If your worker is able to show negligence on your behalf, he or she may be able to secure the same compensation he or she would in a traditional personal injury case. More specifically, the employee may be able to get compensation to cover damages relating to pain, suffering, medical care, mental anguish and so on.
Provide medical care and protect your workers against exploitation
The Jones Act also protects maritime workers against exploitation and sets guidelines when it comes to you offering them adequate medical care when the need arises. It also stipulates that you must uphold certain standards when it comes to boat maintenance, crew training and licensure, on-deck safety equipment and compliance with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rules and regulations.
Employees who wish to sue you under the Jones Act must do so within a specific timeframe.