Electricity is an integral part of the modern workplace, and therefore, workers in all kinds of industries may be exposed to electrical injuries. However, maritime workers may be at an especially high risk of serious electrocutions or electrical injuries, because they work in an environment that constantly brings electricity in contact with water. This consistently wet environment increases a person’s risk of suffering serious injuries when they come into contact with a live power line, or work with malfunctioning tools, or come into contact with exposed wiring.
Electrical injuries can range all the way from mild shock to fatal electrocution. Apart from these, there may be a range of other injuries including burn injuries, and cardiac arrhythmia. The worker may suffer loss of consciousness. He may be thrown several feet away from the point where he came in contact with the current, suffering a number of other injuries, including fractures, spinal cord injuries and brain injuries.
In those cases where the injury has been serious enough to cause nerve damage, the person may no longer be able to use the affected part or limb. That means a dramatic drop in income, because he may no longer be able to return to his former job.
Maritime workers who are working on cargo vessels, cruise lines, tankers, barges, tugboats, towards and other kinds of vessels may be covered under the Jones Act, and may be able to claim benefits that include medical expenses, pain and suffering and even punitive damages.
However, a worker who is injured while working in a harbor, shipyard or ship building facility may be eligible for compensation under the Longshore and Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act.