The knowledge and skill required to be a ship engineer, coupled with the physical endurance and hazards that a moving ship presents, can create a dangerous workplace. The confined spaces necessary to service, monitor and repair equipment on a transport vessel amplifies an already demanding and strenuous task. Ship work exposes engineers to hazards that most other engineers don’t have to deal with due to space limited by a ship’s dimensions.
Maintaining a safe workplace
Though a ship engineer is already aware of the many dangers that their job presents, it is essential to understand when a workplace is upholding necessary safety precautions and when negligence may be the cause of an injury. Here are six common hazards for ship engineers:
- Asphyxiation: Confined spaces could cause suffocation or asphyxiation from the concentration of gases and improper ventilation.
- Fire and chemical hazards: Operations that use flammable liquids, gases and solvents, can produce fires (more dangerous in a confined space like a ship’s hull), chemical burns, and inhalation risks from exposure.
- Moving machinery: The combination of a moving ship and moving machinery can produce any number of catastrophic injuries from impact, entanglement or crushing movements.
- Grueling schedules: The maritime industry is well-known for having long shifts and grueling schedules for ship workers, sometimes taking advantage of workers already used to extended hours. The exhaustion that can result from these schedules can put workers at risk of making errors they would have naturally checked if they were well-rested and fresh on a shift.
- Falls: The combination of constant and erratic movement, plus the introduction of water, can cause any number of slip-and-fall injuries, especially if there are not non-skid surfaces in place or handholds and railings for gripping.
- Asbestos exposure: Shipyards and certain ship operations are notorious for exposing workers to asbestos, which could lead to such conditions as mesothelioma.
Fighting for your compensation
If you work as a ship engineer or a ship worker, an injury could mean the loss of your livelihood for such a tough physical industry. If you are a ship worker who was hurt on the job, you need an attorney experienced in personal injury lawsuits to determine if your injury may be the result of employer negligence.