Maritime workers have a unique job, and with that job comes a unique set of laws that govern how they are covered if they are injured. While most industries cover their employees under a typical workers' compensation plan, it's a little different in the maritime industry.
Recently, the Clovelly Oil Co. platform located in Lake Pontchartrain exploded while maintenance was being performed. The explosion sent a fireball high into the sky, severely injuring seven workers who were flown to area hospitals. One worker is missing, and the Coast Guard announced suspension of their search for him a few days later. He was a resident of Texas who was working on the structure as a subcontractor.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration more than 300 barge workers were killed between 1997 and 2006 in on-vessel accidents and explosions. Workers died from drowning after falling off of their vessels without life jackets, suffered fatal injuries when the equipment they were working with shifted due to wakes and became asphyxiated when they were deprived of oxygen and did not have the proper breathing equipment to save their lives.
Between the years of 2003 and 2010, 128 individuals died in offshore oil and gas operation incidents. This figure divides into an average of 16 deaths during each of the included years. All but one of the fatalities occurred in the Gulf of Mexico, the body of water that New Orleans residents enjoy using for its beaches and water sports. The fatality rate for workers in this incredibly dangerous industry is around seven times higher than the fatality rate of workers in other industries and the work presents individuals with serious dangers that do not exist in other fields of employment.
The Gulf of Mexico is a beautiful view for many of the residents of New Orleans. However, some also derive benefits from this impressive body of water beyond its aesthetic appeal: it provides them with job opportunities.
The Jones Act provides seamen and workers on water-based vessels with legal rights to pursue the damages they sustain while on board such vessels. However, under the Jones Act, victims carry some burdens of proof in demonstrating their rights to claim under the law and the extent of damages that they wish to procure. This post will generally discuss the doctrine of maintenance and cure under the Jones Act, and how it may apply in personal injury cases. But, readers are encouraged to discuss their possible maritime cases with Louisiana-based attorneys.
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.
As many residents of New Orleans probably know, admiralty and maritime law refers to the statutes and legal doctrines covering ships and conduct on the ocean, including both coastal waters belonging to the United States and the high seas, also called "international waters." What some might not know is that the Founders of the United States contemplated that the federal government would be involved in admiralty law and maritime law decisions, as the Constitution itself specifically mentions that federal courts have the power to hear cases involving legal questions stemming from conduct on the ocean.
Towing vessels are an important part of the transportation and logistical infrastructure of the Mississippi River and the port of New Orleans. More than a few Orleans Parish residents go to work each day aboard a towboat. The federal government has promulgated regulations that govern general health and safety requirements aboard towing vessels. This blog post will give a brief overview of these regulations.
Many people in and around New Orleans are involved in the commercial fishing industry. The Gulf of Mexico and the lakes and bayous of Louisiana can be great places to harvest fish, crustaceans and other tasty sea dwellers. Strong and intelligent workers are needed to make this industry operate. But working in this industry is not without its risks.