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October 13th, 2009

Tugboat Worker Killed in Fall Accident in Houston Ship Channel

Fall accidents are some of the most frequent, yet most serious, accidents that maritime lawyers encounter. A tugboat worker was killed in such an accident last week while he was working on a tugboat docked in the Houston Ship Channel.

According to news reports, the accident occurred at about 10:15 am last Thursday.  The man was apparently working on the tug, and climbed a ladder to an upper deck. There is no information on how the accident occurred, but he was found on a lower deck a few moments later by another worker.  He was declared dead soon after.

Fall accidents are some of the most preventable work hazards facing a Jones Act worker. There may be any number of ways that workers are injured or killed in falls on a vessel. There may be

  • Falls from an elevated deck
  • Falls from ladders
  • Falls as a result of grease-covered or slippery work surfaces
  • Workers on some kind of Jones Act vessels like commercial fishing vessels may be at a greater risk of fall accidents, because of decks and other working surfaces that are covered with grease and fish gurry.

All these accidents are entirely preventable.

  • Crew members on a vessel must have access to ladders and other equipment that are sturdy and safe to use.
  • Work surfaces must be free of obstructions.
  • Workers must be trained to perform their duties safely in order to prevent falls. They must be trained to operate machinery and equipment properly to prevent trips and slips.

Unfortunately, employers often try to cut costs by compromising safety procedures, thereby placing workers’ lives at risk. Families of those injured or killed in such accidents may find it hard to receive answers to their questions. In such cases, it’s always advisable to seek the expertise of an experienced maritime lawyer who can help you understand your rights under the law.

The maritime lawyers at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers represent injured maritime workers and Jones Act workers in Texas, and across the country.

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