New buildings go up every day in New York City, but the construction and fabrication site at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal signals a new development. This is the first stage of creating an offshore “wind port” to build, assemble, and service offshore wind turbines to be installed over the coming years.
Unfortunately, even clean energy has its risks. If you’re hurt on an offshore wind support vessel or while installing these new turbines in the harbor, you could qualify for several different workers’ compensation programs.
Wind Turbine Installation Risks for Construction Workers
Construction workers involved in wind turbine installation face everyday job site hazards plus the risks of working on open water. Crews unfamiliar with ship conditions and practices are likely to suffer at least one injury before turbines are fully installed.
Maritime construction injuries often include:
Wind Turbines need constant maintenance and require special crew transfer vessels (CTVs) to navigate the choppy waters around wind farms. These lightweight crafts may be blown into the trunk of the wind turbine or crash into other vessels, resulting in broken bones or drowning incidents.
Offshore wind turbines can be over 300 feet tall to allow the blades to capture more energy from greater wind speeds. However, this also places workers performing turbine maintenance at perilous heights—and in windy conditions. Employees who aren’t secured by harnesses may be killed after falls from cranes, ladders, or suspended platforms.
Like most large-scale construction projects, materials to build wind turbines are lifted into place using vessel-mounted cranes. The ability of these cranes to capsize multiplies the usual fatality risk, turning crane collapses and uncontrolled swinging of the boom into catastrophic events.
Contact with malfunctioning wind turbine circuits or high-tension power lines is a common cause of fatal electrocution in construction work. Even nonfatal electrical shocks can force workers to take early retirement due to brain damage or debilitating side effects.
Tools, hard hats, or a single bolt falling from the top of a wind turbine tower can cause severe head injuries for workers below.
Construction Workers Could Be Owed Significant Compensation
Both construction companies and maritime employers have to secure adequate coverage for injuries, illness, or death of their employees. However, there’s some overlap between construction and maritime injury laws, and you could be entitled to compensation under multiple programs. As experienced maritime injury attorneys and New York construction accident lawyers, we know how to maximize payments for workers in the world’s most dangerous industries.
You may be entitled to accident compensation through:
Construction firms operating in New York State must carry insurance to cover lost income and medical payments after a work-related accident. These workers’ compensation programs provide benefits regardless of who is at fault for the injury, but covered workers are prohibited from suing their employers to get additional payment.
Federal maritime laws such as the Jones Act provide payment for medical bills and lost income and may even allow you to sue your employer for negligence—something usually forbidden under state workers’ compensation laws. The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA), Outer Continental Shelf Land Act (OCSLA), and general maritime law can also apply to cases where an employee is hurt while working on or near the water.
Wrongful death statutes
State workers’ compensation programs and the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA) both pay benefits to families whose relatives suffered a fatal work accident. The right claim for your family will depend on the status of the worker and the location of the incident.
A third-party lawsuit
The majority of statutes allow workers to sue negligent third parties such as contractors, equipment manufacturers, ship owners, or mechanics. These personal injury lawsuits can cover economic losses plus additional compensation for pain, suffering, and permanent injuries.
Contact Our Experienced Offshore Wind Turbine Construction and Transportation Injury Attorneys
The dedicated legal team at Hofmann & Schweitzer wants to make your recovery as easy as possible after an injury at sea. Let us listen to your story and explain your next steps at no cost to you in your no-obligation consultation. Call us at 1-800-3-MAY-DAY or fill out our online contact form today, or learn more about these types of claims in our complimentary guide, Are You a Seaman Injured in a Maritime Accident? Know Your Rights.