Staying safe is never guaranteed while working on heavy-duty construction in a shipyard. Shipyard injuries are numerous and may result in broken limbs, amputations, brain damage or worse conditions. There are workers’ compensation laws in Virginia that apply to injured maritime employees who are eligible for coverage.
The dangers of shipyard construction
The physical dangers found in shipyards include getting hit by falling debris, slips and falls and machinery accidents. Some men get caught in confined spaces or accidentally stand under cranes and get crushed by debris. Men who are trapped in confined spaces while the ship is submerged in water can drown. In addition, there are high-level risks of large chemical spills, inhalation of toxic fumes and exposure to toxic particles.
Workers’ comp covers shipyard injuries
The rights of shipbuilders and dockworkers are covered either under the federal Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act or state workers’ compensation laws. Maritime employees include longshoremen, harbor workers, dock workers and people who work in shipyards and shipping terminals.
Exclusions to coverage
Workers’ compensation policies include exclusions to prevent people from receiving double benefits or from taking funds when they do not qualify. Some state workers’ comp programs exclude workers who are eligible for federal coverage. They are excluded if they were injured outside of maritime settings or during fights or while committing illegal actions.
How workers can protect themselves
Shipyard employers know of the many dangers that workers face every day. They provide insurance coverage to reduce the risks of lawsuits; however, their workers must qualify to receive benefits.