man with injured hand and wrist looking at bandagesMaritime workers face a unique set of challenges and risks in their daily routines, often involving heavy machinery, unpredictable weather conditions, and strenuous physical labor. One area particularly vulnerable to injuries is the hands and wrists.

If you suffered a hand or wrist injury on the job as a seaman or longshoreman, you could have a valuable Jones Act or LHWCA claim. Our maritime injury attorneys will work to ensure that you get the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries.

What Is Your Hand or Wrist Injury Worth?

The potential value of your hand or wrist injury claim will depend on a number of factors, including the extent of your injuries, the potential for a full recovery, your ability to go back to doing the same kind of work you did before the injury, and the cost of your medical bills. A permanent, debilitating injury to your hand or wrist is a serious disability that could impact all areas of your life. It is important that you work with an experienced maritime injury lawyer to determine what your claim is worth and to build a claim that will increase the chances of success.

Types of Maritime Hand and Wrist Injuries

Seamen and longshoremen may not even be aware of how much they rely on strong, injury-free hands and wrists to complete their duties. Even when wearing protective gloves, they are at risk of the following types of injuries:

  • Pinch and crush injuries. Pinch and crush injuries can occur when hands get caught between two objects or machinery.
  • Lacerations and abrasions. Lacerations and abrasions involve cuts and scrapes on the hands and wrists. Handling sharp tools, cables, or equipment without proper protection or inattention to surroundings can result in these injuries.
  • Impact injuries. Impact injuries involve the forceful contact of an object with the hands or wrists. Falling objects, tools, or equipment collisions can lead to fractures, contusions, or sprains in the hands and wrists.
  • Caught in or between accidents. These accidents occur when body parts are trapped between moving parts of machinery or equipment. Lack of machine guarding, malfunctioning equipment, or failure to follow safety procedures can contribute to these accidents.
  • Repetitive strain injuries (RSI). RSIs result from repeated motions or overexertion on the hands and wrists over time. Tasks such as repetitive lifting, gripping, or using vibrating tools without adequate breaks or ergonomic support can lead to conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Cold-related injuries. Cold-related injuries, such as frostbite, can occur when working in cold, wet conditions without proper protection. Lack of appropriate cold-weather gear, failure to take breaks in extreme conditions, or inadequate safety measures contribute to these injuries.
  • Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS). HAVS is a condition caused by prolonged use of vibrating tools, leading to vascular and nerve damage. Inadequate tool maintenance, lack of anti-vibration measures, or prolonged exposure to vibrating tools can contribute to HAVS.
  • Fall injuries. Falls can result in various injuries, including fractures or sprains in the hands and wrists. Working at heights without proper fall protection, slippery surfaces, or inadequate training on fall prevention can lead to fall injuries.

Maritime Jobs That Put You at Risk of a Hand or Wrist Injury

Many maritime jobs involve tasks and environments that pose a higher risk of hand or wrist injuries. These jobs often require extensive manual labor, handling heavy equipment, and exposure to various hazards. Those jobs include the following.


Responsibilities include handling mooring lines, tying knots, and participating in cargo handling, which may involve lifting and securing heavy loads.


Engaged in tasks such as handling fishing gear, operating winches, and processing catch, which may involve repetitive motions and exposure to cold and wet conditions.

Longshoremen and Dockworkers

Involved in loading and unloading cargo, securing containers, and handling various equipment, which poses risks of impact injuries, caught-in or between accidents, and repetitive strain injuries.

Shipyard Workers

Tasks include welding, cutting, grinding, and using heavy machinery, exposing workers to the risk of impact, crush injuries, and exposure to chemicals.

Crane Operators

Responsible for lifting and moving heavy loads using cranes, putting them at risk of crush injuries, caught-in or between accidents, and repetitive strain injuries.


Involved in the assembly and disassembly of rigging equipment, which poses risks of impact injuries, falls, and caught-in accidents.

Tugboat Crew

Engaged in tasks such as towing, pushing, and assisting with the docking of vessels, which may involve handling heavy lines and equipment.

Dredge Operators

Involved in dredging operations, using equipment to remove sediments from water bodies, exposing them to potential caught-in accidents and repetitive strain injuries.

Marine Mechanics

Engaged in repairing and maintaining marine engines, machinery, and equipment, which may involve working with tools and machinery that pose risks of lacerations and crush injuries.

Commercial Divers

Involved in underwater tasks such as inspections, repairs, and construction, putting them at risk of hand injuries due to handling tools and equipment in challenging environments.


Engaged in the dismantling of ships, which involves cutting, welding, and handling heavy materials, exposing workers to various hazards, including hand and wrist injuries.


Responsible for loading and unloading cargo from ships, involving tasks such as handling containers, securing cargo, and operating equipment, which may lead to various hand and wrist injuries.

Offshore Oil and Gas Workers

Engaged in tasks such as rigging, machinery operation, and equipment maintenance, exposing them to the risk of hand and wrist injuries from heavy machinery and tools.

Cruise Ship Crew

Tasks may include handling luggage, securing equipment, and participating in emergency drills, posing risks of impact injuries and repetitive strain injuries.

Maritime Security Personnel

Involved in security operations on vessels or at ports, which may include tasks such as handling weapons and securing the perimeter, exposing them to potential injuries.

It is crucial for workers in these maritime jobs to receive proper training, use personal protective equipment (PPE), and adhere to safety protocols to minimize the risk of hand and wrist injuries. Employers should also prioritize ergonomic work practices, conduct regular safety assessments, and promote a culture of safety awareness to create a safer working environment for maritime professionals.

Paul T. Hofmann
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Focused on personal injury, with an emphasis on maritime, railroad and construction worker tort claims.
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