The Risk of Musculoskeletal Injuries from Cumulative Strain in Long-Term Maritime Workers
Work in the maritime industry is notoriously dangerous, with maritime workers facing serious risks every time they show up for a shift. They work in demanding environments that are prone to change. One of the most significant risks faced by maritime workers is musculoskeletal injuries. It’s important that maritime workers understand the risks they face in their day-to-day work and assert their rights when they suffer an injury.
If you’ve been injured while working a maritime job, it’s time to talk to the maritime injury lawyers at Fuquay Law Firm. Call us at 251-473-4443 to find out how we can help you pursue the compensation you deserve.
Cumulative Strain Injuries Cumulative strain injuries are also known as musculoskeletal disorders and repetitive stress injuries. They affect the soft tissues of the body, occurring with consistent exposure to vibration, awkward positioning, force, and motion. Any part of the body can be affected, including the upper and lower back, neck, arms, and legs. Cumulative strain injuries are often the result of overexertion, and over time, they can keep you from carrying out your job tasks.
Beyond the obvious pain, discomfort, and mobility limitations caused by musculoskeletal disorders, these injuries can affect workers’ health in another very serious way. Musculoskeletal disorders are a major contributor to the opioid epidemic in the United States.
Maritime workers report a range of repetitive stress injuries, including:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome: Repetitive wrist movements often lead to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition that causes pain and weakness in the affected hand and wrist.
- Back injuries: Maritime workers are at high risk of back injuries, thanks to work that requires awkward postures, heavy lifting, and repetitive bending. Even with proper lifting form, this much strain takes its toll.
- Tendonitis: Tendons in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists are at risk of tendonitis. Ongoing tendonitis can significantly limit your mobility.
- Neck and shoulder injuries: The same issues affecting a maritime worker’s back can also damage their neck and shoulders.
- Knee and hip injuries: Squatting, lifting, and bending all increase a maritime worker’s risk of knee and hip injuries.
Risk Factors of Maritime Work
Why are maritime workers at such high risk of cumulative strain injuries? Several factors contribute to the epidemic of cumulative strain injuries. To start, few industries have the intense physical demands of the maritime industry. Employees are often required to lift, carry, load, and otherwise strain themselves every single day. Additionally, working aboard a vessel exposes workers to loud vibration and the threat of turbulence. Together, these factors fatigue the muscles and ramp up the risk of injury.
Vessels are known for the tight, compact spaces in which workers are forced to execute their daily tasks. Being in cramped spaces or awkward positions for extended periods of time can strain the body and make injuries more likely. Adding to that, many maritime workers put in extremely long hours with minimal breaks.
Compensation for Maritime Injuries
In an ideal world, managers and other leaders in the maritime industry would help minimize the risk of musculoskeletal injuries. Injury prevention techniques include encouraging proper ergonomic positioning, prioritizing thorough training and education, managing employees’ workloads, and actively looking for injuries when they are still minor so an employee can seek treatment.
Unfortunately, though, many injuries go undetected until they are severe enough to require extensive medical care. This puts a lot of financial strain on workers. Luckily, there are several ways injured maritime workers can seek compensation for their injuries.
Maintenance and cure are required under maritime law, entitling injured workers to money for living expenses and medical care while they recover. If an employer or coworker is negligent, an injured seaman may also be able to seek compensation under the Jones Act. Those in certain positions are also entitled to compensation under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.
Start Your Injury Claim with Fuquay Law Firm
If you’ve suffered an injury in the course of your maritime work, you could be entitled to compensation. It all depends on the details of your accident. Let’s talk more about your legal options now—call Fuquay Law Firm at 251-473-4443 or get in touch online now.