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Shipyard Accidents

Shipyard workers may face many hazards and consequently sustain severe injuries. Shipyards are fast-paced working environments, and shipyard workers may use dangerous machinery, giving rise to risks of injury and death. Many shipyard workers sustain injuries building or dismantling ships or doing other work in shipyards.

Unfortunately, devastating accidents may happen when employers do not take proper care and adequately oversee shipyard operations. Injuries may be severe, leaving employees with permanent disabilities that prevent them from returning to work, causing them to lose wages. Further shipyard injuries may cause the deaths of employees.

Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and California Shipyard Accident Attorneys

If you have been injured in a shipyard accident, you may be entitled to compensation under the Jones Act and The Occupational Safety And Health Act. In these cases, you want an experienced attorney who will guide you through the legal process and fight aggressively for your rights. Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, LLP has over two decades of experience in maritime law. We can help you through this difficult process.

Call 1 (800) 262-8529 to set up your free consultation with Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, LLP today. Our skilled maritime lawyers are prepared to look out for your best interests. We serve clients in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and California.


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Shipyard Accidents in Washington, Oregon, Alaska and California

Types of shipyard accidents include:

  • Chemical exposure accidents, such as exposure to benzene
  • Asbestos accidents, including inhalation of asbestos dust and fibers
  • Slip and falls, resulting in broken bones
  • Electrical accidents resulting in electric shocks
  • Explosions and fires
  • Forklift injuries
  • Heavy machinery accidents
  • Equipment failures
  • Ladder problems
  • Winch accidents
  • Crane and heavy machinery accidents
  • Rigging accidents

Additionally, as a result of shipyard accidents, shipyard workers may suffer a variety of injuries, including:

  • Broken bones from machine malfunctions and errors, slips, and falls
  • Dislocated bones from machine malfunctions and errors, slips, and falls
  • Severe burns from fires, including chemical fires
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI), including concussions, from head trauma
  • Crushing injuries from heavy shipyard objects
  • Hypothermia from cold associated with falling into the water
  • Hypoxia (oxygen deprivation) from drowning
  • Inhalation and exposure injuries from exposure to chemicals and particles
  • Neck and back injuries from slips and falls and other accidents
  • Overexertion injuries from operating machinery
  • Repetitive stress injuries from using machinery and tools
  • Sprains, strains, and tears from slips and falls and other accidents
  • Chronic illnesses and cancer from long-term fume and smoke inhalation

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Causes Of Shipyard Accidents

The Occupational Safety and Health Act requires that all employers maintain a safe work environment for employees. Unfortunately, shipyards are riddled with risks that can injure workers:

  • Coworkers may make mistakes. Coworker errors can lead to injuries. Coworkers may use tools and machines incorrectly or imprudently.
  • Tools and machines may break down, resulting in coworker injuries.
  • Hazards at shipyards present a risk of slips, trips, and falls, which can cause broken bones and traumatic brain injuries. Since shipyards are located near water, falling into water and drowning is also a risk for shipyard workers.
  • The hazardous materials present in shipyards may also harm workers. Fuels, fumes, and particles can cause illnesses and explosions.
  • Workers building or dismantling ships can be exposed to high heat levels. For example, welding requires the use of high heat. Workers may sustain burns.
  • Fires at shipyards can also cause severe injuries and deaths.
  • Long-term exposure to fume and smoke can cause chronic respiratory illnesses.
  • Long-term exposure to fume and smoke can also cause cancer in shipyard workers. In particular, shipyard welders are vulnerable to cancer.

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Longshore Harbor And Workers’ Compensation Act

State workers’ compensation law generally does not extend to private sector maritime workers because they work in and near navigable waters. Fortunately, the Longshore Harbor and Workers’ Compensation Act mandates that all employers of people who work near navigable waters compensation for their injuries. Specifically, the Act requires all employers of people who work near navigable waters to provide workers’ compensation and disability benefits when needed. Per The Longshore Harbor and Workers’ Compensation Act, the employers of shipyard workers must purchase workers’ compensation insurance or be self-insured. Employers must give injured shipyard workers medical and disability benefits and must provide survivors’ benefits to families of workers who perish in shipyard injuries. The Act provides that employers must cover all medical care costs stemming from an employee’s workplace injury. The disability benefits a worker receives under the Act depend on the employee’s wages before the injury. Further, in contrast to most state workers’ compensation benefits, disability benefits under The Longshore Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act change yearly in line with national wage growth.


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The Occupational Safety And Health Act

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 charges shipyard employers to keep workplaces free of hazards that are likely to kill or seriously harm shipyard workers. Part 1910.15(a) of The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH) requires shipyard employers to adopt health and safety standards. Part 1915 Subpart B of OSH provides the standards for a space to be safe for hot work, such as welding, as well as providing the standards for a space to be safe for general work and the standards for work in enclosed spaces. The standards include appropriate levels of oxygen, concentrations of flammable vapors, and residual materials. Additionally, employers must post appropriate warning signs.


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Additional Resources

Occupational Safety and Health Administration Shipyard Accident Examination Videos– The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has videos examining shipyard accidents, which provide insight into how shipyard accidents occur and instructions for how to avoid shipyard accidents. The videos cover many types of shipyard hazards, including crane hazards, drowning hazards, fall hazards, hazards of improper use of equipment, lockout and tagout failures, and a full explanation of shipyard hazards.

Centers for Disease Control: Center for Maritime Safety and Health Studies, Shipyards– The Centers for Disease Control explains the kind of work shipyard workers do, the risks shipyard workers face on the job, and the statistics about injuries and deaths of shipyard workers in the United States. Work accidents killed at least 45 shipyard workers between 2011 and 2017. This number was eight percent higher than the national worker fatality rate. Additionally, 61,600 shipyard workers were injured on the job between 2011 and 2017.


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Shipyard Accident Attorneys |  Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and California

Were you injured while working in a shipyard? You can call on our experienced maritime injury lawyers at Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, LLP for experienced and reliable counsel. Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, LLP has a history of handling high-profile maritime cases over the years. We can help you obtain compensation if your injury was caused by the negligence or reckless actions of others.

Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, LLP serves injured shipyard workers in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and California. Call 1 (800) 262-8529 to secure an initial consultation with Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, LLP as soon as possible.


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  • The Maritime Law Association of The United States
    The Maritime Law Association of the United States (MLA) was founded in 1899. Its formation was prompted by the organization, some three years earlier, of the International Maritime Committee.
  • Washington State Bar Association
    The Washington State Bar Association operates under the delegated authority of the Washington Supreme Court to license the state's nearly 40,000 lawyers and other legal professionals.
  • Oregon State Bar
    The Oregon State Bar is a government agency in the U.S. state of Oregon. Founded in 1890 as the private Oregon Bar Association, it became a public entity in 1935 that regulates the legal profession.
  • Alaska Bar Association
    The Alaska Bar Association is a mandatory bar association responsible to the Alaska Supreme Court for the admission and discipline process of attorneys for the State of Alaska.