excessive noise and vibration hazard on maritime job

Excessive Noise and Vibration—A Common Maritime Workplace Hazard

Maritime workers and the threats they face on a daily basis are in an entirely different world from those with no experience in this industry. Whether they work aboard the vessel itself or work adjacent to the water on a dock or port, seamen and other maritime workers are at constant risk of injury or illness. One of the most persistent threats found aboard a vessel is excessive noise and vibration. Not only is this annoying and distracting for workers, it can also cause long-term health issues.

If your health has suffered because of constant exposure to excessive noise or vibration, you may be entitled to compensation under maritime law. Call Fuquay Law Firm at 251-219-0329 to explore your options now.

Constant Exposure to Noise and Vibration

While working aboard a vessel, seamen are under intense pressure. They are constantly exposed to high temperatures, loud noise, and heavy vibration. Not only can these factors cause physical harm and illness to seamen, they can also cause psychological damage.

Research indicates that exposure to heat, noise, and vibration vary in different parts of the ship and at different parts of the journey. Some of the areas with the highest noise and vibration levels include the engine room, workshop, engine control room, and deck. Those who work in the engine room were consistently exposed to higher noise and vibration levels.

How Excessive Noise and Vibration Can Impact Your Health

Excessive noise and vibration can impact maritime workers in a variety of ways, making it difficult to pinpoint the greatest risks to employees. First, the constant feeling of vibration and the monotony of a boat’s noise can impact a crew’s wakefulness. This increases sleepiness at certain volume levels, putting tired employees and those they support at greater risk of accidents caused by fatigue or carelessness.

At higher noise levels, noise and vibration affect ship workers in the opposite way. Many workers report frequent sleep problems, interrupted sleep, and overall low sleep quality. Over time, excessive noise and vibration lead to mental and physical fatigue.

One of the most commonly reported physical effects of excessive noise and vibration is hearing loss. Noise-induced hearing loss occurs when an individual is regularly exposed to noise levels above a recommended threshold. It is difficult to treat this injury, as it builds up slowly over time. By the time a seaman realizes that their hearing is not what it should be, so much damage has already been done that there is little left to help them.

In extreme cases, some victims suffer burst eardrums and acoustic shock. Not only does this impact a worker’s ability to carry out their job duties, it affects their everyday life as well. Hearing loss has been linked to other health problems, including heart attacks, strokes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension.

Vibration can also cause a variety of injuries. Injured maritime workers may experience bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other types of repetitive strain injuries. For those exposed to excess vibration through the use of hand tools, HAVS (hand-arm vibration syndrome) is a painful and irreversible diagnosis.

These issues can also lead to mental health concerns for maritime workers. Research links incremental hearing loss with a heightened risk of poor mental health. Those who report hearing loss claim a variety of side effects, including:

  • Social and personal problems
  • Difficulties in relationships
  • Loss of social opportunities and conversational opportunities

This is particularly alarming, considering the fact that maritime workers are already at a greater risk of mental health concerns. This is due to the long stretches of time away from home, the lack of social support system aboard some vessels, isolation, and the physical demands of maritime work.

Fighting for Compensation

Under maritime law, seamen injured while working are entitled to maintenance and cure. However, the mechanism you use to seek compensation depends on your specific job title and where your work is done. By working with a maritime injury attorney, you can pursue the compensation you are entitled to.

Reach Out to Fuquay Law Firm Today

The team at Fuquay Law Firm focuses heavily on maritime law and the rights of maritime workers. If you’ve suffered an injury or illness because of your work, let us help. Call us at 251-219-0329 or get in touch online to set up a consultation.

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