Ohio River Tugboat & Barge Accidents Lead to Fatalities
Accidents involving workers and crewmen on barges and tugboats are common occurrences, and subsequent injuries can be very serious and sometimes fatal. Operators of dams, locks, river barges and other vessels on the Ohio River may be held accountable if an unsafe work environment leads to any injury that keeps an employee out of work.
According to data compiled by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in recent years, over 300 employees were killed on barge and tow combinations, and around 380 explosions or fires occurred on barges or towboats in the United States.
In recent years, tugboats and barges have sunk on the Ohio River, resulting in fatalities and severe injuries.
The aging infrastructure of dam spillways, and older boats on the river have been the primary causes of worker injuries. Victims and families of victims have filed lawsuits against all parties responsible, including dam and lock management, negligent boat and barge operators, as well as inattentive captains and crews.
As one of the busiest waterways in the country, the Ohio River sees heavy transport traffic throughout the year, and the thousands of workers employed in any capacity in river transport deserve a safe working environment. Should employees come down with an injury or a work-related illness, employers may be liable to compensate workers for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and future earnings.
If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury while working on the Ohio River or adjacent harbors and docks, you may have a claim against a negligent employer or product manufacturer. Joe Lyon is an experienced workplace injury attorney well-versed in the legal and economic impact injuries and illnesses have on a victim and their family.
Transport and maritime companies are required to train employees on safety practices, and are responsible for creating a safe work environment above all else, but employers can be negligent which may result in serious injuries. Barge and Ohio River transport workers commonly suffer following injuries:
Explosions & Fires: Fires are relatively common on barges and boats, and may be the result of improperly stored fuel, defective fuel lines, combustible materials on deck, and tank leaks. Fires can spread and cause severe injury or death on board.
On-Deck Accidents: Most injuries will occur during the work day during normal work hours. Common injuries include slipping on wet stairs and catwalks, falls on unsecured ladders, tripping on unfixed objects on board, unsecured swinging cables, or unsecured cargo. Overboard accidents may be caused by a number of factors.
Dam & Lock Accidents: Malfunctioning dams and locks can cause injuries to both boat crews and workers around the dams and locks. These systems are extremely important to providing a safe river work environment, and any failure in operation may cause serious injury or death.
Dock Accidents: Not all accidents may occur on the boat. Accidents on docks may occur during loading or unloading, or during cleaning or maintaining a vessel. This does not mean the employer is not responsible for the injury. Any injured worker on a vessel, whether docked or on the water, may be compensated for a preventable accident.
After serious accidents occur, the most important business at hand is the best medical attention possible. Following treatment, injured workers may have legal questions about the types of compensation available for certain types of injuries. Employers may be responsible and claims can be filed for the following:
Gross Negligence—employer negligence is one of the most common causes of accidents for river transport employees. Regardless of the position on a boat crew, every crew member relies on their employer to maintain a safe working environment and protect them against obvious hazards.
Defective Equipment—equipment failures may occur when cables and lines break, hoists malfunction, cranes tip, or safety features are defective. Barge accidents could be caused by manufacturing defects or by negligent maintenance. In any case, injured workers may have a claim against the parties responsible for poor equipment.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury as the result of a barge accident, and have questions about the legal remedies available to improve quality of life and medical care in Ohio, contact The Lyon Firm at (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, and he will help you answer these critical questions.