People who work as loggers, linemen, lashers, and in the various maritime and fishing industries run an increased risk of falling into water during the course of their workday. Drowning, hypothermia, and death can happen quickly when workers fall into cold and deep bodies of water. Safety procedures and prevention are pivotal to keeping maritime workers safe on the job.
Personal Protective Equipment for Maritime Workers
All employers have a legal responsibility to provide a safe work environment that is free from unnecessary hazards. In the maritime industry, workers must be provided with personal protective equipment that will keep them safe and afloat should they fall into the water. This equipment includes:
- Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices such as life preservers, life jackets, inflatable vests
- On board and dockside life rings and lines that are easily accessible
- Basket stretchers with lifting bridles
- Fixed and portable ladders
- Recovery devices such as recovery baskets and shepherd’s hooks
- Guarded edges on decks and boats to prevent falls into the water
- Posted signs that are clearly visible for Person in the Water recovery
Recovery and Survival Procedures for Person in the Water
Even with personal protective equipment and careful attention to safety procedures, maritime workers run the risk of falling into the water. It is vital that all workers know recovery and survival procedures when this happens.
Recovery of Person in the Water
- Keep sight of the person in the water at all times
- Call emergency personnel and alert all aboard of a person in the water
- Throw flotation devices such as rings, buoys, and ropes to the person in the water
- Guide the person in the water to a recovery area using hand signals and ropes or shepherd’s hooks
- Adhere to the directions of emergency personnel and assist as necessary
Survival for Person in the Water
- Remain calm
- Cover the nose and mouth areas, if possible
- Focus on breathing to remain calm
- Keep neck and head above the surface of the water
- Latch onto flotation devices and stay close together if there are multiple people in the water
- Take off heavy boots, tool belts, and gloves that may weigh you down
- Position into the fetal position or on your back with arms and knees above the water’s surface to prevent hypothermia
- Heed directives from emergency personnel on land or in rescue vessels
- Communicate with rescue personnel using hand signals as much as possible
- Conserve energy by moving as little as possible while waiting for rescue; float or tred water and only swim if it is possible to reach shore or another vessel
All maritime workers and those who work around bodies of water should be properly trained in water rescue and water safety. Knowing what to do before a worker falls into the water saves precious minutes that can mean the difference between life and death.
Cape May Maritime Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Counsel and Represent Maritime Workers Injured on the Job
The Cape May maritime lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. represent and counsel injured maritime workers. If you have been injured on the job, call us at 888-999-1962 or contact us online for a free consultation. Our Philadelphia, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and Pinehurst, North Carolina offices serve clients throughout the surrounding areas, including the areas of South Jersey, Gloucester, Cape May, and Wildwood.