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How to handle workplace injuries on your vessels

On Behalf of | Mar 31, 2022 | Admiralty & Maritime Defense

Sometimes, no matter how safe your place of business is, workplace injuries can happen. When your company is floating out at sea, the risks are far greater than a brick and mortar on land. Maritime law is complex, and companies need to take extra care when the unpredictability of the ocean comes into play.

Though you cannot stop all accidents from happening, you can have a plan in place to deal with them.

Regularly inspect your ships

Boats that undergo regular safety inspections are less likely to succumb to catastrophe. At a minimum, adhere to industry guidelines for inspection timelines. For added safety, do voluntary safety inspections at regular intervals.

Have an emergency plan

Practice emergency drills periodically with the crew, and be sure that there is always an employee on board trained in first aid. Stock your vessel with proper first aid supplies, and have clear signage and training.

React quickly

Respond to the incidents as quickly as possible. Your staff needs to know that you care, and ignoring their plight will make you come across as cold and uncaring. Your first step should always be to check on the well-being of your crew.

Understand your workers’ rights

Under the Jones Act, injured seamen do not file workers’ compensation lawsuits but may file for maintenance and cure. While your team may value you as a boss, they may still choose to file a claim against you to recover lost damages. Work with your attorney to develop a plan to protect you and your workers.

Be proactive to try and prevent problems before they happen. Showing your employees care and compassion will go a long way with worker morale.