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Fighting Fatigue in the Maritime Industry

Longshore workers, marine workers, crewmembers, equipment operators, harbor workers, and other maritime workers often deal with a serious issue while working - fatigue! When on-the-job fatigue occurs, seamen can be negatively affected. Fatigue has been known to lead to maritime accidents and injuries, as well as fatalities.

Because offshore workers work long hours that are typically physically demanding, their jobs can cause fatigue. Sleepiness can affect their work performance, causing them to make mistakes with dangerous equipment, lookout errors, and steering mistakes, and fail to carry out their duties safely - leading to workplace accidents and injuries.

The National Transportation Safety Board has wanted to improve human fatigue in the maritime industry for over two decades now, as they know it is a dangerous problem the industry faces.

How can fatigue-related accidents and injuries in the maritime industry be reduced?

There are many things that can be done to try and fight fatigue on the part of the ship owner, ship manager, maritime industry and even the seafarer that include:

  • Developing industry standards to measure fatigue
  • Limiting noise and light-proofing sleeping births
  • Training the crew on fatigue management 
  • Increasing exercise and healthy foods
  • Recording the number of hours a seaman works
Until industry regulations are in place, maritime captains and ship owners have a responsibility to ensure that the crew has been trained and has the correct resources and procedures in place that will protect the health and wellbeing of the maritime worker, as well as the safety of the ship. In addition, offshore workers need to be aware of fatigue, identify the causes of fatigue and try and prevent it from occurring on the job. However, crewmembers can only do so much to prevent fatigue. Maritime captains need to give their crew the necessary time to sleep in order to function safely on the job.

Long, irregular hours combined with operational issues and environmental and physical hazards of the job often put seamen at risk for injuries. Research has shown that fatigue can impair an offshore worker's performance, increasing their risks for injuries and risk of mental health problems.

Maritime workers may be able to recover damages for a maritime accident that was caused by fatigue. For more information on your rights to recovery, please call a knowledgeable Texas Jones Act attorney at the Voss Law Firm today at 888-614-7730 to speak with an offshore attorney in a free legal consultation.
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The Voss Law Firm, P.C. represents clients on a local, national and international basis. We proudly serve companies and individuals along the Gulf Coast and around the globe on a contingency fee basis. Our law firm collects nothing unless we recover on our client's behalf.

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