Working offshore is riskier due to the high possibility of something going wrong — bad weather conditions, rough seas, workplace accidents and so on. As a maritime worker, it is important to know your rights in case anything happens on board.
Just like other employees, you are owed a reasonable duty of care by your employer. It may include things such as having the correct safety gear to effectively carry out your duties and allocation of adequate rest time.
A seaworthy vehicle
Your employer needs to provide you with a sea-worthy vessel since it will be your primary workplace for a considerable period. To determine whether a vessel is seaworthy, your employer should factor in the weather, type of cargo being carried, and the length of the trip.
Ensure ship safety
Ship safety extends beyond the seaworthiness of a vessel. It focuses on other conditions of the ship, such as sanitation and safe food preparation. In addition, employers should ensure that their employees work in conducive environments, as would be the case on land.
Have you been involved in a maritime accident?
Under the Jones Act, which primarily exists to protect the interests of maritime workers, you may sue your employer for an accident at your workplace. However, it’s important to note that seamen are not usually entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, unlike other employees, which is why it is essential to be aware of your legal rights.
There is also a legal clock that starts running as soon as you suffer a workplace accident. It is known as the statute of limitations which cuts across all civil proceedings. If the legal period expires, you may not be able to file your personal injury case against your employer for any damages resulting from workplace injuries.