There are many benefits to working in a shipyard, including the potential to earn a good living and the knowledge that you are doing important work. Shipyard jobs can be rewarding, stable, and exciting. However, they are also dangerous. The injury accident rate among shipyard workers is more than twice what it is in other industries—including construction.
Your employer and other employers in a shipyard have a duty to adhere to federal safety regulations and take precautions to prevent accidents and injuries. Despite these expectations, accidents happen, and workers are seriously hurt every day in shipyards. A longshore and harbor worker injury lawyer can help you recover if you were hurt on the job.
Shipyard Jobs Require Skill and Caution
Shipyards employ hundreds of workers with a variety of skill levels, from office workers and security guards to craftsmen and laborers. A typical shipyard employs:
These workers are involved in constructing new ships, including assembling hulls, installing machinery and equipment, and outfitting interiors.
Welders join metal components together using various welding techniques to create and repair ship structures and components.
Pipefitters install, maintain, and repair piping systems for various shipboard applications, such as fuel, water, or ventilation systems.
Electricians handle the electrical installation, maintenance, and repair work onboard ships, including wiring, lighting, and power distribution systems.
Riggers are responsible for lifting and moving heavy loads using cranes, hoists, and other lifting equipment, ensuring safe and secure rigging of loads.
These workers prepare surfaces, apply protective coatings, and perform abrasive blasting to maintain the appearance and protect the structure of ships.
Quality control inspectors
Inspectors ensure that ship construction, repairs, or maintenance work complies with industry standards, specifications, and safety regulations.
Crane operators handle and operate cranes and other lifting equipment to move heavy loads, materials, or equipment within the shipyard.
Scaffolders construct and dismantle scaffolding structures to provide safe access for workers during ship construction, maintenance, or repair work.
Marine surveyors inspect ships and evaluate their condition, safety, and compliance with regulatory standards, providing certification and assessment reports.
These workers face multiple hazards on the job, and their safety depends on their employers and coworkers doing their jobs correctly. When equipment failure, coworker negligence, lack of safety gear, or some other mistake causes an accident, the injuries can be very serious and even fatal.
Hazards Encountered by Shipyard Workers in the Course of Their Duties
Shipbuilding and dry-dock work is strenuous and stressful. Due to the nature of the work, craftsmen, laborers, and tradesmen are exposed to the following dangers on a daily basis:
Inhalation of airborne particles, welding fumes, or toxic gases in shipyards can lead to respiratory conditions, including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or lung cancer.
Contact with hazardous substances, such as paints, solvents, or cleaning agents, can result in chemical burns, skin irritation, eye injuries, or systemic poisoning.
Poor ergonomics and repetitive motions in shipyard work can contribute to musculoskeletal disorders, including back pain, tendinitis, or carpal tunnel syndrome.
Workers may be struck by falling tools, equipment, or materials, causing head injuries, fractures, or traumatic brain injuries.
Working in shipyard environments with high temperatures, limited ventilation, or exposure to direct sunlight can lead to heat exhaustion, heat stroke, or dehydration.
Contact with live wires or faulty electrical equipment can cause electric shocks, burns, or electrocution, resulting in serious injuries or fatalities.
Slips, trips, and falls
Slippery surfaces, cluttered walkways, or uneven floors can contribute to slip and fall accidents, leading to sprains, fractures, or head injuries.
Drowning or water-related incidents
Shipyard workers face risks of falling overboard, being trapped underwater, or encountering water-related accidents, which can lead to drowning, hypothermia, or injuries caused by entrapment.
Workers involved in shipyard activities, such as welding or radiography, may be exposed to ionizing radiation, which can result in radiation burns, cell damage, or an increased risk of cancer.
If you are a shipyard worker who has suffered one of these types of injuries—or any other—you need to talk to a longshore and harbor worker injury lawyer.