Maritime employers are required to provide their crews with safe work environments—including work environments free of illegal drugs and drug activity. As maritime jobs can be very dangerous, it is crucial that workers give their full attention to their job duties. If a seaman is impaired by illegal narcotics or drugs, they can easily make mistakes while on the job. Their actions can endanger their fellow crewmembers and be hazardous to the entire vessel or ship, leading to dangerous accidents.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a maritime accident due to the drug impairment of a co-worker, you need to seek legal representation. You may be entitled to compensation. Take the first step by contacting the maritime injury lawyers at Arnold & Itkin today. We proudly represent seaman, maritime workers, and their families.
When an offshore worker is impaired by drugs while on the job, accidents can easily occur. In many cases, these incidents could have been stopped if proper supervision was in place. However, when maritime employers do not enforce drug and alcohol testing policies or provide adequate supervision for workers, drug-related accidents can follow. This kind of employer inaction can be considered negligence. If you believe your accident was caused due to another employee's drug use, be sure to call our firm right away.
Our lawyers can review these factors and their potential impact on your claim:
Maritime employers are required to have a written drug and alcohol testing policy. Drug testing requirements apply to most commercial vessels regardless of the number of employees aboard. Avoiding offshore accidents and preventing injuries aboard a vessel require quick reactions and sound judgment, but an impaired or drunk maritime worker may have slowed reaction time, poor coordination, and faulty judgment-factors that can contribute to a serious injury.
Employers are required to conduct pre-employment and random testing to detect illegal drugs including cocaine, marijuana, heroin and opiates, amphetamines, and phencyclidine. The random tests conducted periodically throughout the year should cover 50% of the crew. Maritime employers are required to keep records of crew and employees tested for dangerous drugs and retain results of positive tests, including pre-employment tests, for a minimum of five years. Employers must keep negative tests for at least a year.
Workers Subject to Testing
All full-time, part-time, seasonal, year-round, and contracted workers who meet the definition of a crew member of a commercial vessel are subject to testing, according to U.S. Coast Guard regulations. Also, all crew who serve aboard a vessel in a safety sensitive position are required to be tested randomly for drugs.
Reporting Positive Tests
Maritime employers are required to report all positive drug tests of credentialed mariners to the Coast Guard. Employers are also required to remove a crew member from a safety-sensitive job who fails a drug test or refuses a drug screening. Federal regulations do not require an employer to fire a seaman or crew member who fails a drug test or refuses the test. The crew member, however, may not work in any safety-sensitive job until they obtain a return to work letter. It is up to the employer to determine whether the violation results in a dismissal.
Testing After Maritime Accidents
After any serious maritime accident involving a fatality or release of more than 10,000 gallons of oil, maritime employers are required to test crew directly involved in the accident for drugs and alcohol. The post-accident alcohol test is to be administered within two hours of the incident and the drug test must be administered as soon as practicable. A mariner is presumed to be under the influence of alcohol if their blood alcohol concentration is .04% or greater.
The offshore injury attorneys at Arnold & Itkin LLP understand maritime laws and regulations, including maritime employer drug testing requirements. We work with maritime law every day and we know how to use the Jones Act and other maritime laws to protect the legal rights of injured seamen and maritime workers.
If you would like to learn more about what can be done to protect you after a maritime accident caused by an impaired worker, contact Arnold & Itkin as soon as possible.
Arnold & Itkin represented nearly a third of the crewmembers injured in the Deepwater Horizon explosion.
Because maritime law is so complex and so complicated, it is crucial that you work with an attorney who has an in-depth understanding of how it works and who has proven themselves in similar cases before.