What are the common barge and tugboat injuries?

On Behalf of | Nov 30, 2023 | Offshore accidents

Working on a barge or tugboat may seem like a safer alternative to offshore rigs, but the maritime realm brings its own challenges and risks for seamen. In the bustling maritime landscape of Houston, Texas, where the industry plays a pivotal role, it is crucial to delve into the potential hazards seafarers on barges and tugboats face.

Slip, trip and fall accidents

Seamen working on barges and tugboats are no strangers to the risks of slip, trip and fall accidents. The dynamic nature of maritime work environments, with ever-changing weather conditions and wet surfaces, contributes to these common accidents.

Tow wires and tow winches

The tension and forces involved in towing operations mean that accidents related to tow wires and winches can have a high impact. Snapbacks, sudden releases or equipment failures can result in devastating injuries to crew members near these operations.

Worse, the injuries the crew may sustain can be catastrophic. They may suffer severe lacerations, crush injuries or other traumatic amputations.

Falls overboard and heights

The proximity to water brings the added risk of falls overboard or from elevated heights on barges. Unstable footing, inclement weather or inadequate safety measures can contribute to these incidents.

Maneuvering challenges

Barges are known for their bulk and limited maneuverability. This makes it challenging to navigate such vessels, making the operators prone to accidents related to collisions, groundings or other mishaps.

And if a barge disconnects due to understaffing, it can leave crew members grappling with a large, unwieldy vessel. The shortage of hands on deck can considerably increase the likelihood of accidents.

Legal recourse for injured seamen

Seamen who got injured on barges and tugboats must know that they have the right to proper compensation for their injuries. Maritime laws, such as the Jones Act, provide avenues that they can turn to in case of injuries caused by the negligence of employers or unsafe working conditions. Seeking legal counsel becomes crucial to securing the rightful compensation for injuries, medical expenses and other damages.

The seemingly tranquil waters surrounding barges and tugboats hold hidden dangers for seafarers. Vigilance, adherence to safety protocols and legal awareness are essential components in safeguarding the well-being of maritime workers.