Dangers of operating as a maritime dock worker

On Behalf of | Sep 7, 2022 | Maritime Law

Few people realize just how hard it is to work on a ship. Maritime workers experience a lot of dangers on their job that may cause serious, life-long injuries. Employee injuries are even possible when they’re still on the loading dock.

There are several common dangers maritime dock workers may suffer – here’s what you should know:

Forklift accidents

Properly using a forklift requires a lot of training, but that doesn’t mean workers undergo any before heading out to work. Many accidents employees suffer are due to improper use of forklifts. Accidents from a forklift may affect drivers and employees working on the ground.

Forklifts can be tricky no matter how much skill, training and experience you have. Once you have a shipment on the forks, then it’s often a balancing act. If a shipment suddenly shifts on a forklift, it could send the forklift and driver flying, causing head and spine injuries.

Forklifts are equipped with heavy-duty prongs that help pick up and carry cargo onto ships. If you inspect these prongs, you’ll find they can be fairly sharp after much use. If a driver is distracted or loses control of their forklift, they could easily pierce another employee, sever body parts and result in fatal accidents.

Toxic, flammable and explosive cargo

Ships transport all kinds of goods: furniture, cars, food, clothing, etc. Many of these shipments can include dangerous goods that are toxic, flammable or even explosive. If the cargo was damaged during shipping, then employees may be at risk of serious injuries.

Workers may be exposed to toxic chemicals that cause medical complications. Exposure to toxic chemicals may cause breathing issues and poisoning. Likewise, exposure through the skin could cause a chemical reaction that poisons a worker and may kill off skin and muscle.

Flammable and explosive cargo can be just as dangerous – if not more. If cargo containing flammable or explosive goods is punctured, then it may result in enquiring all employees around the catastrophe. Depending on the goods being transported, fires could spread throughout a warehouse, dealing more damage and risks putting all employees in danger.

If you were recently injured while working on a shipping dock, then you may be eligible for workers’ compensation through the Jones Act. You may need experienced legal help that can help you ensure you’re compensated for your injuries and losses.