Those working in the maritime industry face many potential risks and accidents. Certain hazards can lead to severe injury or even death.
By understanding some of the most common work injuries, longshoremen and seamen can help mitigate the dangers and protect themselves and their colleagues.
1. Lifting injuries
Dock workers often must lift heavy loads, which can put a lot of stress on their bodies. Improper lifting or overexerting oneself may lead to back injuries, hernias and other problems. Using proper lifting techniques and equipment such as forklifts, dollies and cranes to help with heavy lifting may reduce health risks.
2. Slip and fall incidents
Longshoremen can slip and fall due to various factors, including poor lighting and uneven or slick surfaces. These incidents may happen on loading ramps, ships, docks or other vessels. Wearing high-traction footwear and staying cautious when walking in wet or oily areas can help lessen slip and fall accidents.
3. Noise exposure
Ships and ports often have incredible amounts of noise. Loud noises can cause health problems like tinnitus or hearing loss. Wearing ear protection can help limit exposure to unnecessary noise. Earplugs and noise-canceling headphones can decrease the decibel levels at work.
4. Chemical injuries
Maritime workers may encounter various chemicals working on ships or in port. Oil, pesticides, industrial cleaning products and other chemical exposure can cause mild to deadly health issues. Longshoremen may notice skin irritation, burns or respiratory problems in the short term, but lengthy chemical exposure may lead to brain, lung and kidney cancers. Donning the proper personal protective equipment and following protocols to handle chemical spills can reduce chemical exposure.
Overall, knowledge of the potential hazards on the job and using the proper safety equipment and protocol can help ensure a safe working environment on land and at sea.