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The Young Firm
400 Poydras Street, Suite 2090
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130

Toll Free: (504) 608-6308
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Read About Personal Injury Law in our Legal Blog

The Jones Act and Safety: Are You At Risk?

By Timothy Young on August 5, 2013

Is Your Employer Doing Everything They Can to Protect You?

Safety rules under the Jones Act are overwhelmingly in favor of the worker; however, many maritime employees working offshore are not aware of just how comprehensive their rights are, or how many safety rules are in place to protect them in their daily operations.  Because so many workers are under-, mis-, or even uninformed, maritime companies frequently take advantage of such workers and violate rules and regulations.

Do They Provide a Safe Place to Work?

The Jones Act gives every worker the right to a “safe place to work” – a far-reaching rule but one of the most important for maritime employees.  For instance, if an employee has been injured at work, and he or she thinks that the injury could have been prevented had the employer followed proper safety guidelines, a judge/jury can specifically determine if that worker was provided with a “safe place to work”.

Do They Follow Industry Standards?

Under the Jones Act, industry-specific rules and regulations also apply.  Such regulations include the American Petroleum Institute standards regarding operating and rigging cranes and slings, as well as all Coast Guard safety rules including vessel safety and keeping the vessel safe from slip and trip hazards.  OSHA standards also apply and are enforced under the Jones Act, and vessels are subject to inspections for adherence to OSHA safety requirements.

Do They Provide Proper Training?

Additionally, it is the employer’s responsibility to assure that all employees receive the proper amount and type of training and supervision to perform their jobs well and safely.  Often, a company will try to satisfy such requirements with “on-the-job” training; however, such training can be seriously lacking when it comes to the types of detail-oriented, complex duties assigned to maritime workers.  What’s more, the most dangerous responsibilities are normally the most difficult to perform; unfortunately, such duties commonly fall to new employees, as more experienced and senior workers do not want to perform them and pass them off.

Do They Provide Proper Manpower?

Under the Jones Act, every employer also must ensure that there are enough workers to perform each task.  Often a company will insist on an insufficient number of workers performing a task because that’s the way it has always been done.  But just because it’s always been done the same way, does not mean it is the safest way, nor does it ensure that proper procedures are followed to protect the workers, particularly in cases of jobs that are performed less frequently.

Are you a maritime worker uncertain about your rights under the Jones Act?  The Young Firm has made free, downloadable publications available to help you learn everything you need to know.

If you have been injured and want to talk to someone who deals exclusively with maritime law, contact or call us today at 866-938-6113 for your free consultation.  We are here to answer all of your questions and to make sure you understand your legal rights as a maritime worker.

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