Loading and unloading of cargo is one of the most important functions in the maritime industries, but it can also be dangerous. Cargo ships and other vessels carry all types of loads, many of which are heavy. These items require special handling which can be difficult and hazardous. There are various risks involved in working with cargo. Cranes, hoists, and other large machinery are needed to get cargo on and off vessels.
Cargo and Crane Accidents
Workers on cargo ships and other vessels need to move pallets, containers and other items to and from the ship to the dock. The proper equipment needs to be used to lift and put items in place by workers. Equipment could malfunction or be improperly used, causing it to fall or hit a worker. Crush injuries or injuries due to being hit with heavy loads may be serious.
There are a number of reasons that an injury might happen during the process of loading or unloading from vessels. Large cranes are often used to hoist cargo on or off the vessel. There are inherent dangers involved in moving around shipments, especially on and off ships. The ship is a moving vessel that makes work more hazardous.
Most accidents that occur when loading or unloading cargo are avoidable. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides guidelines for maritime working safety. Companies are required to provide a safe workplace for employees. Further, they must ensure that employees are properly trained to operate equipment necessary in their jobs. Companies need to make sure that the equipment they use is in good working condition and is properly maintained. If weather conditions are poor, it may be necessary to wait until the wind allows for safe movement of the freight.
Injuries Caused by Loading Accidents
When an accident occurs from moving shipments, it could result in a serious injury. Heavy loads may fall onto a worker, crushing them. When cargo hits a person, it may create head, neck or back injuries, broken bones and possibly internal injuries. Falls may occur which can lead to contusions, sprains, broken bones, back injuries or head trauma. These injuries may be minor or could be extremely serious or life threatening. Unfortunately, due to the heavy cargo involved, some injuries could be fatal.
Those who are seriously hurt in a maritime accident may need to take legal action. The cause of the accident must be determined. In some cases, the company may be negligent. For example, when the crane or another piece of equipment malfunctions because of poor maintenance, the accident could be due to the negligence of the company. Safety procedures must be in place, and employees need to be properly trained on equipment operation. Inspections need to occur regularly to make sure that the working conditions are safe. If any safety violations are noted the work should stop immediately until the problem is resolved.
Additionally, the company should have procedures in place to provide emergency medical care should an accident occur. The failure to provide immediate medical treatment could result in more serious injuries or death. If the company was negligent, it could be held liable for hospital bills, rehabilitation costs, ongoing treatment, and punitive damages such as lost wages and money for pain and suffering.