What Causes Offshore Slips & Falls?

From simple trips over some wiring to catastrophic tumbles on scrubbed floors, slips and falls are injuries that are deceptively dangerous. In fact, slips, trips, and falls cause 15% of all accidental deaths in the United States, trailing only motor vehicle accidents as the number one accidental killer. Annually, 12,000 people are killed due to slip and fall accidents. Additionally, slips and falls make up 25% of all reported injuries and contribute to 17% of all occupational injuries that cause disablement. While these statistics are surprising, offshore employees are at higher risk of slip and fall accidents than the average American worker. It’s important that those working in the maritime industry identify the causes of slips at sea.

Here are some common offshore safety hazards that can result in slips and falls:

  • Oil that is not cleaned up
  • Ropes or other tools that are improperly put away
  • Ocean water that is not cleared from a deck
  • Jutting pipes or machinery that is not properly marked
  • Unsecured or unmaintained guard rails
  • Lifting tasks that are over-regulation allotments

Ships Must Be Clear of Safety Hazards

Under the Jones Act, ship captains must clear all known safety hazards from their ships before they leave port. In other words, captains are responsible for assessing their ships for health risks every time they dock their boats. When a captain takes their ship from a dock, under the Jones Act, he is declaring that the ship is free of safety hazards. Despite this rule, sea captains, and the companies that employ them, will leave ports when the ship is in a “unseaworthy” condition. Therefore, when a captain fails to clean up oil on the floor, identifies pipes that are unmarked, and fails to fix guardrails, an injury caused by these hazards is likely to end in a successful maritime injury claim.

Holding Companies Accountable for Slips & Falls

If you or a loved one have been injured in a maritime slip and fall accident, it is important that you immediately seek professional legal counsel to determine if your injury qualifies for a Jones Act claim. Arnold & Itkin pursues justice for maritime workers who are injured by company negligence. We fight to ensure that our client’s voice is heard and that companies are held accountable for their mistakes.

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