Whether you work as a professional fisherman or as a chemical specialist on an offshore oil rig, the water is one of the most pressing safety concerns for those working in a maritime environment. When you spend so much time on the open sea, you can start to take your own safety for granted.
Both workers and employers may not insist on the consistent use of personal flotation devices (PFDs) despite drownings being a leading cause of death and injury while at sea. Anytime you are at work on the ocean and do not have a PFD in place, you expose yourself to one of the biggest job risks.
Drownings are often fatal and typically preventable
Although researchers do acknowledge that roughly 20% of drownings do involve someone wearing a PFD, most maritime worker fatalities related to drowning involve a worker without proper safety equipment. Workers who experience a near-drowning event may suffer life-altering medical consequences, ranging from permanent brain damage to post-traumatic stress that affects their job performance.
Maybe your employer doesn’t provide PFDs, or perhaps they allow a culture to flourish where other workers mock those who use these crucial safety devices. There are many reasons why you may not feel comfortable wearing a PFD consistently at work, but you may need to change your perspective for your own protection.
Putting safety first could save your life or the life of a co-worker. Workers already negatively affected by negligent safety practices may need to consider taking their employer to court. Injured maritime workers and surviving family members of deceased maritime workers may have grounds for a maritime injury claim against an employer when a drowning occurs.