While most maritime workers would not dwell on it in a conversation, they all know their vocation is rife with danger in the best of times. They use powerful tools to move gigantic loads while standing on surfaces that are routinely slippery. Changing weather conditions, heaving surf and toxic chemicals add to the potential hazards.
All this was true before the pandemic. As the world economy continues to recover from global stagnation, the work demands have grown ever greater for longshoremen, sailors and the host of other maritime employees.
Safety can get sidelined in the hectic pace of recovery
The very idea that the U.S. and global economies stagnated because ports remain clogged around the nation inspires New Orleans area workers to step forward and willingly make sacrifices to optimize maritime operations. In midst of the busyness, it may be easy for some to forget that the guidelines, safety laws and proper procedures set in place to protect our workers are still in force.
Protective rights are still intact
As needed, maritime workers can utilize these important tools:
- “Maintenance and cure” is a program that provides for injured workers to recuperate regardless of how injuries occurred
- “Unseaworthiness” refers to the responsibility of vessel owners and supervisors to make certain ships and equipment are capable of use under the proper conditions
- “Negligent behavior” means that improper conditions or equipment were not addressed
Eventually, the extra burdens faced by these workers will ease and normal working conditions will return. Hopefully, the nation and the world will remember to express their gratitude to these brave, hardy souls who quietly keep the economy afloat.