A new study finds that up to 30% of the American workforce is sleep deprived. Maritime attorneys believe that the situation is not much different on water. Seamen are at a high risk of suffering injuries when they are forced to work continuously without sufficient breaks.
The study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 40 million workers in the United States do not get the required amount of sleep a night. This increases their risk of being involved in accidents in the workplace, or while they are driving.
Fatigue has long been an underestimated factor in maritime accidents. The risks of working long hours without sufficient breaks are even more real on a vessel than they are on land. Maritime employers are required to provide sufficient meal and rest breaks for employees at frequent intervals.
However, the maritime industry seems to encourage longer working hours than other industries. For instance, the maximum number of working hours per week for maritime employees is typically 98. The number of work hours per week for pilots is far lower at between 70 and 100.
Additionally, the Federal Aviation Administration has proposed increased rest breaks and fewer continuous hours of flying for pilots in order to reduce the risk of plane crashes. Maritime lawyers would like to see similar efforts being made to protect seamen too.
If you have been injured in an accident on a vessel because you were overstressed, fatigued or overworked, you may have rights to compensation under the Jones Act. Call a maritime attorney at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers for a free consolidation.