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Preventing Offshore Head Injuries

Maritime workers face numerous hazardous perils every day on the job. Slippery decks, heavy equipment and lackadaisical maintenance practices provide the perfect environment for head injuries aboard vessels. Even when workers take reasonable safety precautions, accidents still occur far too often.

Common Causes of Head Injuries aboard Vessels

There are numerous situations on ships that may cause a worker to suffer a head injury. Recognizing them is an important part of reducing risk of injuries. Some of the accidents that have caused head injuries to maritime workers occur because of circumstances such as:

  • falling objects;
  • swinging overhead pipes;
  • slippery floors because of spills or because of the failure to use non-skid surfaces;
  • onboard explosions;
  • collisions;
  • falling off platforms because of lack of barricading;
  • parted cables; and
  • unsecured cargo.

Tips to Prevent Offshore Head Injuries

Many offshore injuries can be preempted by taking basic safety precautions, dealing with any hazards as soon as they arise, and following safety protocols.

First, crew and supervisors will need to ensure that they are aware of their surroundings and go about their duties with caution and care. Other safety measures vessel owners and crew members should take include:

  • ensuring cargo is properly loaded and secured;
  • cleaning up spills immediately;
  • wearing good shoes with traction;
  • carefully performing safety inspections at regular intervals;
  • keeping all equipment and structures in good repair;
  • ensuring all crew members receive proper safety training; and
  • immediately notifying the supervisor of any potential risks.


Devastating Effects of a Head Injury

When an accident occurs aboard a vessel and a worker sustains a head injury, it can cause trauma to the brain, which can have lasting, extremely detrimental effects for the victim. As noted by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), injury to the brain can cause:

  • general cognitive problems;
  • inability to organize thoughts;
  • speech problems;
  • memory deficits;
  • loss of critical thinking skills;
  • confusion and an inability to reason;
  • changes to the victim’s sense of touch, feel and taste;
  • changes to personality;
  • emotional issues such as depression, aggression and social inappropriateness; and
  • increased risk for certain diseases.


Many head injuries, if not fatal, cause permanent disability; some seamen who sustain serious brain injuries are never able to return to their posts. Even in moderate head injury cases, the side effects of the injury can impair the victim’s cognition in such a way as to reduce their working capacity greatly.

Seeking Compensation for Damages

If you or your loved one suffered an offshore head injury, consult a maritime attorney to discuss your legal options. You may be able to file a general maritime claim or a Jones Act claim to recover damages for your losses. You may be able to pursue recompense not only for your medical expenses, but also for:

  • emotional damages;
  • long-term rehabilitation therapies;
  • counseling;
  • disability and reduced working capacity; and
  • the impact of the injury on your family and social life.


Discussing Your Claim Options with a Maritime Attorney

If you or a family member has suffered a head injury in a maritime accident, we invite you to contact our maritime attorneys at The Young Firm for a free, no-obligation consultation. We can review your case, determine if you qualify for filing a claim and ensure you’re getting the appropriate amount of benefits. Call today to schedule a consultation – 866-715-3664.

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