electrocution in the maritime industry

The Risk of Maritime Electrical Injuries

A ship’s electrical systems are integral to its functioning and day-to-day operations. However, electricity is exceptionally dangerous when mixed with water. As a result, maritime workers who spend any amount of time working with electrical systems are at risk of serious injuries. Under maritime law, injured workers are entitled to compensation.

If you’ve been the victim of a maritime work injury, don’t wait to seek the compensation you’re owed. The sooner you take action, the easier it is to prove your claim and hold your employer accountable. Call Fuquay Law Firm at 251-473-4443 to schedule a free consultation now.

How Do Maritime Electrical Injuries Happen?

A wide range of defects and errors can lead to serious maritime electrical injuries. Common causes of injuries include:

  • Defective or misused electrical tools: Tools used to maintain a ship or carry out daily work tasks can become worn down or defective after months or years of use. Additionally, improperly trained maritime workers may use these tools in an unsafe or unapproved manner, leading to electrical injuries.
  • Poorly executed schematic drawings: A single ship has hundreds of miles of wiring. Any error in the layout of this wiring could be disastrous. Poorly planned wiring could put wiring in a place where water builds up, increasing the risk of corrosion and electrical injuries.
  • Electrical phasing errors: Certain work processes can cause damage to wire insulation. This puts workers at greater risk of direct contact with electrical currents.
  • Poorly maintained cables: Over time, electrical cables become frayed or worn down. This means that anyone who comes into contact with them could be electrocuted. Common issues include insufficient electrical isolation and a failure to test for de-energization.
  • Physical damage to electric cables: The cables themselves may suffer physical damage because of workers’ actions. If cables get pinched in doorways or between items, they can become frayed and unreliable. Cables nicked by grinders and saws can cause severe electrical injuries.

Common Electrical Injuries

While maritime workers are supposed to receive proper training to avoid electrical injuries, these types of injuries are still shockingly common. Commonly reported injuries include:

  • Burns: The spark from an electrical wire can cause fires that spread quickly and cause severe injuries. Victims may experience scarring, loss of sensation, smoke inhalation damage, and other long-term issues.
  • Falls: A strong shock from an electrical wire can send a victim airborne, throwing them onto the ground at the same level, throwing them onto another level of the ship, or tossing them overboard. In all of these situations, injuries are inevitable.
  • Punctures and equipment injuries: If electrical surges cause equipment to stop and restart, workers may stop to examine their equipment and try to figure out what went wrong. If someone is using a staple gun or another piece of dangerous equipment, looking at that equipment could lead to major injuries when it restarts.
  • Shocks: Electric shocks are extremely dangerous and have the potential to cause death.
  • Shipwrecks: If an electrical issue is severe enough to cause boat-wide outages, maritime workers may have difficulty seeing obstacles or accessing navigation equipment. This increases the risk of a crash.

Preventing Maritime Electrical Injuries

While prompt treatment is essential for every maritime injury, prevention is the most effective way to limit injuries. A significant amount of these injuries are caused by faulty equipment or poorly maintained cables, both of which are completely preventable. Ship owners and captains must be vigilant about following proper inspection schedules, taking care of maintenance requests, and only sailing when it is safe to do so.

Training is another aspect of injury prevention. Both new and experienced maritime workers should go through regular training about staying safe around electrical wires and responding appropriately to injuries. Training exercises that mimic how electrical injuries actually occur can be a helpful tool.

Get the Representation You Deserve with Fuquay Law Firm

If you’ve been the victim of an electrical injury, you’re likely entitled to compensation under maritime law. We can help you explore your options and figure out the best path for you. Call Fuquay Law Firm at 251-473-4443 or fill out our contact form to talk to one of our experienced attorneys.

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