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Pensacola Legal Blog

Fire watches can protect against devastating shipyard accidents

Working in a shipyard often means doing what the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) terms "hot work." This is anything that can create a spark or an open flame. A common example is the welding that is so important during structural work on a modern ship.

This type of work cannot be avoided, but it is critical to ensure that a fire does not break out on the ship. An accident like that can be devastating, not just in terms of massive property damage, but also when looking at the safety of the workers and crew members on the ship. Those trapped in a vessel that catches on fire could be seriously injured or killed due to smoke inhalation or direct contact with the flames.

How often do personal watercraft incidents occur in Florida?

While most parts of the United States are chilly around this time of the year, Florida's eternal sunshine seems to keep things warm. If there's one downside to Florida being such an ideal location for people to come to for a vacation, it's that it entices so many to ride personal watercraft despite not knowing how to operate them. Individuals get hurt or killed in the state each year because of this.

The latest Boating and Accident Statistical Report published by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC) at the end of 2017 captured how there were 151 incidents involving personal watercraft that year. This accounts for 20 percent of all reported boating accidents. At least 11 operators of these vessels were killed in them.

Your illness or injury risk from using spray paint in a shipyard

From asbestos exposure to the risk of slips and falls on wet or oily surfaces, these are just some ways that shipyard workers can be exposed to deadly illnesses or get injured. Something else that can put them at risk of getting hurt or sick is the use of spray paint in constructing or maintaining water vessels.

One of the reasons that spray paint is so hazardous to shipyard workers is because they're frequently used in confined spaces with poor ventilation. Each time that they engage the trigger on the aerosol cylinder, it releases a number of combustible and flammable vapors into the air. If there were some type of static charge or electric current in the same environment, then it could ignite a fire or cause an explosion to occur.

A 52-year-old woman falls to her death from a cruise ship

A 52-year-old woman fell overboard to her death while en route to one of the stops on her Princess Cruise Lines ship's itinerary on Nov. 13. The woman and her male companion had left Port Everglades for what was slated to be a seven-day southern Caribbean cruise several days earlier on Nov. 9. The ship was expected to return to its original Fort Lauderdale port this past Saturday.

Witnesses to the incident reported seeing the woman involved in physical altercation with a male passenger in the moments before she fell from the deck of the ship. The woman's body landed on a lifeboat when it went overboard.

How a maritime injury report could help or hurt workers

Injuries at sea are handled much differently than state-by-state workers’ compensation policies. For this reason, employers can easily take advantage of workers who don’t know their rights.

If you’re a maritime worker, you should know how to watch for whether an injury report you file could be helpful or hurtful.

A raceway owner falls overboard, drowns off the Florida coast

Divers with the Lee County Sheriff's Office have found the body of a boater who had gone missing while spending time out on the water nearby Punta Rassa on Sunday, Nov. 11. A spokesperson for the office notes that he'd last been seen right before 3:00 p.m. that afternoon. Soon after that, police dispatch began receiving calls summoning them to the scene.

Swarms of divers and first responders arrived in Punta Rassa moments after the first call came in. They initiated a search of the area, but suspended it as nightfall set in. They resumed their search the following day as the sun came up. That's when they located the man's body.

The risk of electric shock drowning is real for dock workers

Those who work on water docks have more than just forklift crush injuries, heavy-lifting injuries and slip-and-fall injuries to worry about. They have to take precautions to minimize their risk of drowning after an electric shock as well.

Workers are particularly vulnerable to being electrocuted if a marina's or water vessel's faulty wiring makes contact with metal from either a boat prop or dock frame while underwater. An electrical field is generated below the surface of the water when this occurs. How intense it is depends on the amount of current that is released into the water.

A Florida man falls several decks to his death on a cruise ship

A 29-year-old Fernandina Beach man, who was slated to get married on Dec. 1, fell to his death while aboard Paradise Cruise Line's Grand Classica on Oct. 26. The man had just begun his bachelor party cruise from the Port of Palm Beach to the Grand Bahama Island when the incident occurred.

The cruise ship had only traveled 13 miles from its original port when the United States Coast Guard received a call about an onboard incident that had occurred just before 8 p.m. Service members from the Lake Worth station were dispatched to help.

Boat workers may have difficulty getting their medical bills paid

If you work on a commercial fishing boat and you get sick or injured on the job, you may be wondering who's responsible for footing the bill for your medical costs. A best-case scenario is that it will actually be the boat's captain under the "maintenance and cure" doctrine.

This is a type of coverage similar to workers' compensation benefits. Virtually every state requires employers to maintain workers' compensation insurance to cover medical costs for injuries that an employee may suffer on the job. That coverage generally covers some lost wages as well. An employee is only entitled to these benefits if they're hurt while on the clock though.

What exposes passengers to getting hurt on cruise ships?

Of the over 24 million people that take cruises annually, a recent Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) report shows that 19 of them die falling from their ships each year. Each time an incident like this occurs, researchers learn a lot more about what can be done to prevent these types of incidents from occurring.

Reviews of past incidents have shed light on how the low height of railings on balconies and decks has made passengers more vulnerable to falling overboard.

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