Shipyard workers are often forced to work in tight, confined spaces. This brings with it a unique set of risks that they must be aware of.

There is a reason that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration pays special attention to workers in these confined spaces and the jobs they are instructed to do. They know that these conditions can lead to a dangerous and potentially fatal atmosphere. The risk of poisoning is increased by the fact that workers may not even identify the dangerous gas until it is too late.

For instance, there was a famous case where two workers needed to pump water out of a ship. They had an external pump, but it was down for repairs. They had to use a backup pump instead.

That pump was smaller and powered by gasoline. They took it down the ladder and into the ship, even though they had only opened up the lone access hatch. One worker stayed with the pump and the other climbed up on deck.

As the pump ran, it filled the small space with exhaust and carbon monoxide. The worker in the compartment was overcome and passed out. He fell down into the water.

Since the pump kept going, the other worker had no idea there was a problem until it ran out of gas. By the time he climbed down to check, the other worker had already drowned.

This tragic story really illustrates the risks that shipyard workers face. If you suffer injuries or lose a loved one, make sure you know all of your legal options. Call the Law Offices of John W. Merting for experienced guidance people have trusted for over 40 years.