Poor Safety Standards Blamed For Dock Worker’s Injuries

Lipcon, Marguiles, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

Maritime accidents can take place at any time and for several reasons. While sometimes, there are accidents that are caused by acts of nature which can’t always be predicted or because of pre-existing health conditions, a large portion of injuries and fatalities at sea or in port are caused by negligence. Crewmembers can – and have – suffered severe and fatal injuries due to poor safety standards at port and onboard vessels. When a worker is involved in an accident, they have a right to seek legal help with a crew claims lawyer and may be entitled to compensation for their pain and suffering.

Recently, one dock worker may have a seaman’s claim of his own, after sustaining injuries that led him to be hospitalized. Yet, the severity of his injuries has yet to be reported and there have been conflicting explanations regarding what actually transpired. According to the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), the crewmember was taken by air ambulance to Perth after sustaining serious injuries to his arm while supplying Chevron’s Gorgon LNG project in Western Australia on Saturday. MUA explained the man’s arm was crushed between the dock and a barge at the Mermaid Marine Supply base in Dampier. However, a Mermaid Marine spokesman said the worker sustained an injury to his wrist and received medical treatment at Nickol Bay Hospital in Karratha. The spokesman added that the victim is currently resting at home in Karratha.

“The health and safety of our employees is paramount and all steps will be taken to ensure our employee makes a full and speedy recovery,” said the company. “The incident is currently under investigation.”

But MUA has something else to say regarding Mermaid Marine’s safety protocols. MUA WA secretary Chris Cain called Chevron and Mermaid “cowboys,” alleging that poor safety standards has been a problem at the Mermaid Marine Supply base for months.

“It’s becoming clearer and clearer that Chevron and their contractors like Mermaid are cutting corners to make up time and money on the Gorgon project,” added Cain.

The union said WorkSafe WA had been warned that poor training and lack of safety made conditions for an accident “inevitable.” Safety representatives had arranged for WorkSafe WA inspectors to visit the dock on Friday, yet Cain is outraged that a worker was hurt the day after WorkSafe agents claimed everything was fine.

“We’ve got serious issues when the day after WorkSafe says there’s no problem, ambulances are called to an accident of the type exactly predicted by health and safety representatives,” argued Cain.

According to the union, the seafarer’s accident has raised serious questions that need to be addressed, including why WorkSafe was called to investigate the accident hours after it happened. If Chevron or Mermaid are found responsible for the crewmember’s injuries due to lack of safety at the port, they may be held liable to pay damages, including medical fee reimbursement, to the victim.