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Common Injuries to Longshoremen: Part 5 of 6

Dock, Ship, Water, Shore Injuries to Longshoremen

  • A crane swings the wrong way and hits a dockworker in the head
  • A Stevedore gets caught between two containers being moved too closely together on a ship and is crushed
  • A dock is slippery from rain and a longshoremen slips and falls and breaks his leg

Traumatic brain injury, crushed limbs, broken bones are just some of the common injuries to longshoreman who work dangerous jobs. Longshoremen can get hurt or even die on the docks, ships, or water.  If you’re a longshoreman, you’ve probably seen or experienced the danger first-hand; it’s a part of the job that no one wants to talk or think about.

Learn About the Longshore Act

common longshoremen injuries on the job But the challenge is that being prepared for injury or illness goes beyond calling an injury in to the union and reporting what happened on the docks; every longshoremen should be aware of the Longshore Act which protects and provides for the medical and financial care for Longshoremen.

The U.S. Department of Labor, according to its website, annually has covered medical care and rehabilitation services for more than 25,000 people who have been injured under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.  It’s also paid monetary compensation to thousands of injured workers for lost wages or their families who have lost a loved one because of his or her work.

Dockworkers are exposed to many potential injuries, as well as disease in their every day work. They wear hard hats and steel-toed boots and safety equipment should be in place at the dock, but accidents and injuries still happen.

Back, Spinal, Lifting Injuries Common

Back injuries are most common; they can include serious injuries to the spinal cord. Broken backs are frequent and most often result from the heavy lifting and carrying required of longshoremen.

Longshoremen have been hurt by getting hit or crushed by forklifts. Longshoremen can lose limbs when hands, arms or feet are caught in ropes or hit by a piece of equipment; slipping accidents also happen frequently and can result in drowning.

Bars that come loose when a longshoreman is “lashing” or locking or unlocking a container often can hit a person or crush a hand or finger. There have also been reports of workers being electrocuted when they were replacing circuit breakers on containers.

Unseen Threats: Slips, Toxic Exposure, Illnesses

While broken or crushed bones, slips or falls are common, less visible harm can come to a dockworker, too.  Exposure to toxic chemicals from leaking containers can lead to illness, and exposure to diesel particulates coming from ships or from trucks all in close quarters on the docks can lead to respiratory disease.

Longshoremen Ill from Rain, Cold, Heat

Longshoremen are exposed to the elements and work in cold, rain and sweltering heat.  The docks also are noisy and longshoremen are exposed to repetitive vibrations –from using power machinery or being around other tools or machines running non-stop as ships are being loaded and unloaded. This cause nerve damage and loss of feeling in hands and arms.  Constant exposure to excessive noise also can cause hearing loss.

If you’ve had an injury on the dock or suspect an illness is caused by exposure to dangerous chemicals, inhaling fumes, smoke or other conditions, only work with an experienced Longshore attorney. The Longshore Act can protect you allowing you to get help for you so that you can care for your family.

The Longshore Act provides:

  • Attorney’s fee
  • Your choice of doctor
  • Medical care
  • Worker’s comp

At the end of the day it’s about caring for yourself for your medical needs for what can be a very long time. The mistakes that can be made without the support and direction of an attorney can be serious.