Did you know that the leading cause of death among towing industry workers is falling off of vessels? Last year, six towing industry workers fell to their deaths. Fortunately, crew fatalities have been declining steadily overall within the industry. In 2015, there were seven deaths per hundred thousand employees in the towing industry, which is lower than the fifteen or so deaths per hundred thousand in the overall transportation sector that includes air, rail, trucking, and every other type of transportation. Within the towing industry, one hundred and nine injuries were reported in 2015, and only two of them were classified as severe. During that same year, most of the accidents involving towing vessels were not very serious and resulted in only minor injuries and damages.
Statistics like those mentioned above provide only a glimpse into the dangers of working in the towing industry. Tugboats have enormous amounts of horsepower, and they have many moving parts that can pose a risk to their crews, like giant winches, large steel tow lines, and rotating drums. Tugboats work in all kinds of weather, so decks can be slippery when wet or icy, or if oil spills onto them. Slips and falls are relatively common, and as mentioned above, falling overboard poses a great risk to life.
As is the case with any other industry, the owners of towing vessels have a duty to keep the work environment on their vessels reasonably safe. Workplace injuries on towing vessels are governed by the Jones Act, which enables injured workers to file causes of action for lost wages, pain, suffering, and other types of damages against their employers for damages in situations where either the employer or an agent of the employer was negligent. The Jones Act also provides a wrongful death cause of action for the survivors of seamen killed in workplace accidents.
The Jones Act mainly applies then the vessel is on the water, but much of the work of towing industry workers takes place at docks and terminals. Fortunately, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations apply to those locations, so the safety of towing industry workers is protected whether they are on land or the water.
Giddens Law Firm, P.A.: Support for Workplace Accident Victims and Families
If you or someone that you love was injured or killed while working in the towing industry, it is essential to get legal help right away. A Mississippi Workplace Accident Attorney can help you make sense of the process of filing a claim for damages, and they can support you at each step of the process as they work to resolve your claim. What’s more, they can formulate a strategy for presenting your case in court, if it has to go to trial. If you have questions related to Mississippi workplace accident law, the Workplace Accident Attorneys of the Giddens Law Firm, P.A. could help you. Please call our office today, at (601) 355-2022, to learn more.