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Seven Shipyard Hazards to Watch Out for on Your Next Shift


Posted in Shipyard on February 2, 2018


Shipyard work isn’t your typical 9 to 5 job and the work demands much more than mere attendance. Often times, one wrong move can spell grievous injury – or worse.

That’s why when you are involved in a maritime accident, you need a team of experienced and dedicated lawyers. With a 98% successful resolution rate in maritime law cases, no one can fight for the compensation that you deserve better than Lapeze & Johns.

The best support and advice we can give maritime workers is to protect themselves. Your health is priceless and the best way to combat the risk of injury is to gain a little knowledge about the dangers ahead of time. Next time you are on shift, watch out for these seven types of hazards.

1. Bad Working Conditions

Shipyard work is difficult work to begin with, but what makes it truly dangerous is the environmental conditions that can cause serious injury in many different ways. As per the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the injury-accident rate for shipyard workers – men and women who work exhaustive shifts to ensure that our ships are in great working condition – is twice that of construction and general industry.

A slight misstep can cause you to fall far enough where serious injury or death is inevitable. Always proceed with caution when working under such extreme working conditions and wear the appropriate safety gear.

2. Hazardous Machinery

Colossal pieces of machinery aid in the construction of even bigger seafaring vessels and it takes a shipyard worker much skill, strength, and concentration to operate these machines effectively.

At the same time, one simple mistake or minor misstep while working these machines can prove to be life-threatening to any worker. Always follow protocol when in this circumstance.

3. Erratic Work Schedules

Shipyards are at the mercy of the weather. Because of this, there are no fixed time schedules for working in a shipyard. This can sometimes cause individuals to work long hours with little to no rest. Sleep deprivation, aside from being generally unhealthy, can promote the cutting of corners or making of mistakes. Those mistakes can later become dangerous situations.

Ensure that your schedule allows you enough downtime to rest.

4. Risks of Fire and Explosions

One of the biggest risks in any shipyard is the potential for fire or explosions. Confined spaces coupled with flammable chemicals can quickly lead to severe burns or even tragedy. In 2009, Bram Ates suffered third-degree burns covering half of his body. He tried to warn two other shipyard workers working in a tugboat about a nauseous smell. They had been told to clean out with paint thinner. The two workers he tried to save died when the hull erupted into flames.

While this isn’t a common occurrence, it is a risk that many shipyard workers take when working with chemicals in confined spaces.

5. Cramped Spaces

These spaces can cause a lot more than a few bumps and bruises.

A shipyard worker navigating through these tight spaces can bump his head and cause serious head trauma like a concussion. In other cases, workers may suffer from suffocation and asphyxiation because of the little oxygen that is in such a small space.

6. Risk of Hearing Loss

Shipyard work means have to work around extremely loud noises. The grinding, chipping, building and other shipyard noises can take their toll on shipyard workers’ ears. Not only that but tight spaces with high pressure can rupture a worker’s eardrum.

Noise-induced hearing loss is becoming a more common occurrence in shipyard workers. Do what you can to protect your hearing.

7. Hazardous Construction Materials

Asbestos, a heat-resistant fibrous silicate mineral, was used in the construction of ships from the early twentieth century on through the 1970s. It mainly insulated boilers, pipes, and pumps.

Asbestos has been linked to causing mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs, abdomen or heart. Shipyard workers are at an increased risk if they have worked on or repaired any ships that were constructed with asbestos because of their close proximity to the material.

Have you or a loved one faced injury or death because of hazardous work conditions while working in a shipyard? Enlist the Gulf Coast maritime experts at Lapeze & Johns to obtain the justice your situation deserves.

At Lapeze & Johns, you are an individual, not just a case number. If you have suffered injury because of any of these hazardous working conditions listed above, please do not hesitate to contact us at (713) 739-1010 today.

Together we will fight for the compensation you deserve. Call today.