A ship’s deck can be dangerous for workers. It is one of the most accident-prone areas of a ship, and work on deck involves numerous risks. Even a small accident can result in a serious injury and expensive litigation. Businesses should understand the most common injuries that take place on deck so they can prevent them from happening as well as construct a defense in case of a lawsuit.
- Slip and falls
By far, the most common injury on deck is slip and falls. Workers must often perform complex physical tasks on decks slippery with water. Slip and falls can also happen on heights, including masts, cargo holds and lashing bridges. To avoid slip and falls, companies should keep the deck as dry and clean as possible and use safety gear such as non-skid shoes and harnesses.
- Injuries from lifting
Lifting heavy materials can cause neck, back and shoulder injuries. While lifting cargo on deck is frequently unavoidable, businesses should train workers to use proper lifting techniques that can reduce injury. Employers should also take care not to encourage workers to lift burdens that are too heavy or poorly distributed.
- Machinery accidents
Workers can suffer cuts, bruises, burns and other injuries from machinery. These accidents usually occur when machinery is not used properly. So, to prevent these injuries, make sure that workers are trained extensively on proper machinery use. Never use defective machinery, use only machines that are designated for the specific job and provide adequate safety gear.
- Exposure to chemicals
Many workers must handle hazardous chemicals on deck. Chemicals can burn skin that does not have safety protection; it can also cause blindness if it comes into contact with the eyes. Properly storing chemicals to prevent them from leaking is crucial. Provide safety gear and eyewash stations on deck.
Maritime businesses have a duty to protect their employees from on-site accidents. However, it is important to remember that many injuries are not the fault of the employer.