Commercial fishing is a major industry in Alaska and a source of income for a significant number of people. While it is a vital part of the local and national economy and most businesses are vigilant about safety, there is no denying that it can be dangerous. One of the most frequent ways in which workers can be injured is if they fall.
Any fall can cause catastrophic injuries and fatalities. With that will come lost time on the job and major medical expenses. Families who have lost a loved one will be confronted with the personal, financial and emotional ramifications.
Some accidents are a matter of circumstance, but when seeking compensation, it is imperative to think about other factors. One is if the employer had adhered to the proper safety procedures for fall protection. This could be integral when filing a claim.
The OSHA and U.S. Coast Guard regulations are meant to be followed
Fishing vessels are not just taken out on the water with workers tasked with catching fish and performing tasks connected to that goal. The vessel itself must be maintained, cleaned, repaired, altered and overhauled while at sea. Often, this requires workers to be stationed at great heights where falls can occur.
For example, if the hull needs welding, a worker must do so. Falls are possible. According to the law, workers who are as little as five feet above a solid surface or are above water at any distance must have fall protection. There are also specific types of fall protection equipment that must be used. This might include a fall restraint system or a fall arrest system.
The equipment needs to be inspected regularly and in proper working order. When there is any type of damage, it must be replaced immediately. The weight restrictions must be adhered to and the distance workers can fall must be limited to six feet or ensure they will not hit the ground.
Fishing boat accidents should be assessed by experienced legal professionals
These are wide-ranging illustrations of requirements that workers should understand when they are working on a fishing boat and need to perform these kinds of duties. If a worker falls, their injuries could have happened because of a lapse in safety protocol.
Given the long-term challenges that accompany hospitalizations, rehabilitation, aftercare and the possibility that the fishing boat worker will never be able to return to the kind of jobs they did before, it is imperative to know how to secure adequate compensation. Consulting with those who have extensive experience in maritime accidents can make a world of difference in a full financial recovery for all that was lost.