Fatigue: The Silent Killer
There is no denying the importance of maritime workers in the global economy. Ships and other vessels transport over 90% of the world's goods, providing jobs for millions of maritime workers in the U.S. and abroad.
Given the importance of the maritime industry, the need for safe working conditions for maritime and offshore workers should be a top priority. Yet, too often, accidents occur that seriously injure or kill maritime workers. And many times, these accidents could have been easily prevented had employers been adhering to effective safety practices. Workers should not have to worry about their safety when going into work. Safety is an inherent right. Employers must carefully monitor working conditions to make sure their employees are cared for. Failure to do so endangers the maritime workers.
Worker Fatigue Is A Common Cause Of Maritime Accidents
One of the most common causes of accidents is worker fatigue. Given the nature of the maritime industry, the vessels are typically in operation 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Because offshore vessels cannot easily and cheaply rotate new work crews while they are hundreds or thousands of miles out at sea, employers are prone to asking the onboard crew to work extended shifts, many times 16 hours a day and upwards of 20 days in a row. That type of work schedule takes its toll.
The Dangers Of Worker Fatigue
Having a constantly overworked crew is dangerous on many levels. Research has shown that tired or fatigued workers are more prone to physical or mental lapses that could lead to an accident. Being tired or fatigued makes workers less alert and aware of their surroundings and has been shown to negatively affect decision making and judgement. The inherent dangers of offshore vessels make the need for alert and rested workers all the more important.
Unfortunately, because worker fatigue is so pervasive in the maritime industry, it often gets overlooked or goes unnoticed. It is taken as a basic fact of life. Managing worker fatigue is not only necessary; maritime employers are obligated to do it to keep the crew safe. Employees must maintain healthy working practices to make sure they receive enough rest.
Injured In A Maritime Accident?
If you have been injured in a maritime accident, you may be entitled to compensation. At Arnold & Itkin, our team of maritime attorneys offers free consultations to injured maritime and offshore workers all across the country.
Contact us today to learn about your legal rights.