Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
Shipyards tend to be some of the most hazardous work environments, resulting in an injury-accident rate that is more than twice that of both the construction and general industry. Building and maintaining ships designed for either military or civilian use requires a vast array of very specific jobs, including welding, plumbing, painting, insulating, repairing and general contracting. All of these pose potentially serious risks for injuries such as burns, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, back and neck injuries and exposure to toxic substances.
In most cases, there are no full-time safety and health specialists on-board a ship to address the unique challenges that shipyard workers face every day. As a result, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) teamed up with members of the shipyard community to develop Safety and Health Injury Prevention Sheets (SHIPS), the goal of which is to increase awareness of safety and health hazards and eliminate any unsafe work practices. There are a series of SHIPS that identify the most common hazards, and provide recommended solutions that have been found to reduce or eliminate injuries.
There are SHIPS for the following shipyard jobs:
- Control of Hazardous Energy Lockout/Tags-Plus
- Hotwork – Welding, Cutting and Brazing
- Shipboard Electrical
- Surface Preparation and Preservation
OSHA is very strict when it comes to shipyard safety regulations. All shipyards are required to maintain proper signage, take appropriate precautions with potentially toxic chemicals and ensure that all employees wear protective safety equipment when necessary. In addition, an emergency rescue team must be selected and prepared to act quickly if an emergency situation arises. Employers must also provide training to all employees on how to enter confined spaces and consider the potential dangers in this environment.
Benefits Options for Injured Shipyard Workers
Most shipyard workers who become hurt at work are eligible for a range of benefit options through their employer. The Longshore Act is a federal Workers’ Compensation program that administers benefits for maritime workers, which includes shipyard employees that meet certain criteria. To quality for Longshore benefits, the employee must meet what is known as the “status” and the “situs” tests for eligibility.
Under the Longshore Act, the employee must perform certain maritime duties for his or her employer in order to qualify for Longshore benefits. Employees eligible for these benefits must perform certain maritime duties as part of their work, and fall into one the following classes of employees:
- Longshoremen and those who help load and unload vessels
- Ship Repairmen
Employees who do not perform the required maritime duties are not eligible for Longshore benefits under the Longshore Act. The classes of employees that do not qualify include the following:
- Shipbuilders who construct vessels that are less than 65 feet in length
- Marina employees who are not involved in certain duties on the marina including construction, replacement or expansion
- Workers involved in aquaculture, or fish farming
- Captains or crew members of vessels
According to the Longshore Act, injured employees may file claims under both the Longshore Act and their state’s Workers’ Compensation. While the employee will not receive double benefits, some states will allow the employee to proceed under both systems. Typically, Longshore coverage provides slightly better benefits, but the process tends to be more time consuming than state Workers’ Compensation. The advantage of filing claims under both systems is that employee can collect Workers’ Compensation benefits. Then they can collect the full amount of Longshore benefits, minus whatever was paid by Workers’ Compensation. A qualified Workers’ Compensation lawyer can help you identify and pursue all entitled benefits you may be eligible for.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Injured Shipyard Workers
If you have been seriously injured while working in a shipyard, you may be eligible for financial compensation. The experienced, knowledgeable Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton will guide you through every step of the Workers’ Compensation process, making sure that you receive the maximum benefits that you deserve. For a free consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.