ADMIRALTY / MARITIME LAW

Operating manual omission led to overturned boat, injured worker

| Nov 25, 2020 | Maritime Law |

Louisiana is a hotbed for maritime work because of its location and the prevalence of the oil industry. With the types of tasks that workers are required to do, it is imperative that safety requirements are followed. The basic responsibility for this is generally with the company. When there is a mistake, accidents can happen with damage and the potential for worker injury and death. A part of assessing these incidents is based on the state and federal agencies and their investigations. Those who have been impacted should be cognizant of these reports as they might be important in a legal filing for compensation.

NTSB says procedural error led to accident

One accident in which a worker was injured was found to be due to a problem with its preloading. The accident happened in September 2019. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently presented its report saying that the lift boat overturned because there was an absence of guidance on how to adapt to the crane shifting positions during lifting. The boom (the arm of the crane) had been horizontal. It went vertical and the center of gravity moved causing the lift boat to flip.

The operating manual did not have information for how to address position changes with the crane boom. With that, the captain made a mistake that led to one of three workers on the vessel being injured, 120 gallons of diesel fuel being released, and the total loss of the vessel costing $750,000.

Understanding the Jones Act after maritime accidents is key

Because working on the water can be risky, it is critical that employers and their crews understand how to perform their jobs. If mistakes are made when detailing adequate procedures or employees make errors that lead to accidents and injuries, it can be a fundamental part of injured workers being compensated under the Jones Act. The Jones Act is a federal law for maritime employees and is not connected to workers’ compensation benefits. Employers are responsible if there is a lack of training, equipment is faulty or damaged or not provided, or decks are not maintained.

Since the NTSB found that the manual did not account for position changes in the crane boom and that sparked the accident, this could be essential in this or in future accidents. When there is a maritime law violation, those who have been hurt or lost a loved one who was working on the water are wise to have legal advice to recover compensation for all they have lost. A firm with experience in maritime cases may be able to help.