Working on a barge requires a great deal of physical labor in sometimes difficult conditions. Barge operators must maintain strict safety standards to keep everyone safe onboard the vessel.
A barge accident can lead to devastating and even catastrophic injuries. Those injured as a result of a barge accident in the Houston area should contact experienced maritime injury lawyers immediately. Reach out to Haun Mena today if you need clarification about which laws protect your right to compensation after a barge accident injury.
Injury Risks From Barge Accidents
Many different issues in barge operations can lead to dangerous accidents for barge workers on open waters and rivers. Some of these risks include:
Lack of proper lighting
Unsupervised or overworked crew members
Debris on platforms and decks
Hazardous weather conditions and rough waters
Malfunctioning or improper equipment
Slippery conditions on ladders, stairs, and decks
Lack of appropriate warning signs
Inexperienced crew members
Reckless or negligent actions of crew members and officers
The maritime industry is one of the most dangerous industries for employees to work in. Far too many barge accidents occur every single year. Each one puts barge workers at risk for long-lasting or permanent injuries.
Barge accidents occur for many reasons and can lead to a broad range of injuries, including:
- Broken bones
- Back injuries
When these injuries occur as a result of preventable issues on barge operations, a barge injury lawyer may be able to help an employee recover maximum compensation for their current and future expenses.
What Safety Regulations Apply to Barges?
Employees alleging employer responsibility for barge injuries must show that the employer made errors with regard to safety standards or other protocols.
OSHA has strict regulations about how barges must operate, including that each barge must have the following:
Double rung or flat tread Jacob’s ladders
Ramps that allow workers to safely step from the barge to another location
Steps between the deck and bulwark that have a handrail at least 33 inches high
Basic lifesaving and first aid equipment on board
A minimum of one US Coast Guard approved 30-inch life ring with at least 90 feet of rope attached
Furthermore, barge operators and owners are legally required to ensure that gangways and decks are free of obstructions, and vessels with coamings greater than five feet high without a guardrail, handline, or walkway forbid people from walking along the sides. Furthermore, if there is no reasonably safe passage available, workers should not be asked to walk past the fore, aft, or deck loads of the vessel at all.
Compensation For an Injury on a Barge
If you were involved in any type of barge operation accident, you need to report this injury to your employer as soon as possible and get the medical care that you need. You have the right to seek treatment from the physician of your choosing. Be careful about signing any paperwork from your employer that may excuse them from legal accountability.
Barge workers are protected under maritime law. There are numerous laws that may apply for your barge operations accident that may hold your vessel owner or employer responsible, including the Jones Act or the Longshore Harbor Workers Act.
Under the Jones Act, you could be entitled to maintenance and cure benefits. Maintenance and cure benefits are those paid out to injured seamen regardless of who is responsible for the injuries or accident. Maintenance refers to the money that an employer is required to pay you while you are recovering from your illness or injury. These benefits are paid out to compensate you for your daily costs of living on land in the same manner you lived offshore. Cure benefits allow you to select your own doctor for your medical treatment.
Maintenance and cure benefits do not last forever. You are only eligible to continue receiving them until you reach what is known as maximum medical cure, which is the point at which your injury or illness will no longer improve even if you continue to receive medical treatment.
What is the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act?
This federal law provides for payment of medical care, vocational rehabilitation services, and compensations for those employees who were hurt due to on-the-job injuries on the navigable waters of the United States or in adjoining locations associated with the building, unloading, loading, or repairing of a vessel.
How to Report a Work Injury On a Barge
You need to report any job-related accidents or injuries to your employer as soon as possible. Let them know immediately about what happened and that you wish to exercise your right to receive medical treatment.
Your employer may ask you to sign paperwork or agree to a recorded statement. It is strongly recommended that you communicate with a maritime injury lawyer first.
Haun Mena Helps Injured Barge Workers in the Houston Area
If you or a coworker has been hurt on a barge due to lax safety on the part of the vessel owner or operator, you may have a claim under the Jones Act or other maritime laws. A Houston barge accident lawyer at Haun Mena has the knowledge and skill to discuss your specific claim and to help you file suit.
Reach out to the knowledgeable maritime injury lawyers at Haun Mena for a comprehensive review of your legal rights.