When a worker is hurt while performing work-related tasks, there are a number of laws that may help them request financial support during the time they are unable to do their jobs. However, not all of the laws that protect and support New Orleans workers apply to those individuals whose jobs take them out onto open water. If a worker is a merchant marine, then his work-related injury claims may be covered by the Jones Act.

Officially called the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, the Jones Act covers individuals whose jobs keep them on international vessels tasked with bringing goods to or from foreign nations to the United States. A worker must spend at least 30 percent of his worktime onboard a vessel is importing or exporting goods to the United States. The worker may also serve in any managerial capacity aboard the ship. Workers whose job responsibilities involve in the water-based import or export of goods, but who do not spend at least 30 percent of their worktime on vessels, may quality for compensation under longshoreman laws.

The Jones Act protects ship-based workers when their working conditions are no longer reasonably safe. Whether they are harmed through insufficient safety training, dangerous equipment or their fellow employees, ship-based workers can find financial support.

As with land-based work injury claims, ship workers who suffer harm on the job should first report their injuries to their supervisors and make statements about the conditions they faced when their injuries occurred. After tending to their medical needs, injured ship workers can benefit from speaking with personal injury attorneys who include Jones Act representation in their legal practices.