Workers at shipyards perform physically strenuous tasks as part of their everyday work. They repair and refit ships, which involves welding, grinding and torch cutting. Pipefitters piece together sections of pipe then weld them into place. Welding alone poses a danger of explosions and serious burns. Welding, painting and other activities may involve working in a confined space where the lack of ventilation can allow flammable vapors and toxic fumes to accumulate. Accidents happen without adequate air monitoring, toxic vapors can overcome workers and a spark can ignite flammable fumes, causing a flash fire. Nearly 100 people die each year in confined space incidents.
Welders and pipefitters are often required to work on elevated ledges or on ladders which allow for falls from elevated surfaces. Ladders and ledges are often defective, poorly maintained or not sturdy enough. More than seventy percent of all workplace falls result from the failures of ladders and scaffolds, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Ship breakers use reciprocating saws and torches to dismantle sections of a vessel such as bulkheads, steel decking, cabins and plumbing. Workers may suffer serious injuries from power saws and from sharp metal edges. They may also be struck by falling tools, tackle blocks or scraps of material.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 46 workers have died in ship-breaking industry accidents since 1997. Specialized workers known as insulators, wearing protective clothing and respirators, use wrecking bars and knives to remove insulation from ship bulkheads and ceilings. They often work on ladders and stand in awkward postures, making falls a real hazard. If workers are not provided proper protective gear and training, they may be exposed to harmful airborne asbestos fibers.
If you have been injured working in a shipyard in Pennsylvania or lost a loved one in a shipyard accident, the Lassen Law Firm can help. The injured and their families need to know their legal rights: they may be entitled to compensation if your maritime injury was caused by the negligence of others, including shipyard owners and employers. Our maritime attorneys at the Lassen Law Firm will protect your legal rights by aggressively fighting for the optimum compensation for your losses.