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Conveyor Belt Injuries on Fishing Vessels

Conveyor belts are commonly used on fishing vessels to help maritime workers quickly process their catch. The belts transport the freshly caught fish through processing factories and bring the frozen product in and out of cargo storage. The use of conveyor belts on commercial fishing vessels can cause serious injuries. If you have been injured in a conveyor belt accident on a fishing vessel, you should reach out to an experienced maritime attorney as soon as possible.

The Risk of Working with Conveyor Belts on Fishing Vessels

Conveyor belts consist of several pulleys and a continuous belt that rotates around them on tracks and rollers. They improve the efficiency of fishing vessels and help limit repetitive helping lifting. However, with the benefits comes an increased risk of injury. Hundreds of seamen are injured or killed every year in conveyor belt injuries.

There are various types of conveyor belt accidents, including when limbs and clothing get caught in the equipment’s moving parts, or unsecured cargo falls and strikes workers. The injuries resulting from these accidents range from mild to severe. Possible conveyor belt injuries include blunt force trauma, burns and abrasions, amputations, and bone fractures.

Common Causes of Conveyor Belt Injuries on Fishing Vessels

Most conveyor belt accidents can be prevented with proper training, guard rails, and maintenance. Below are the three most common causes of conveyor belt injuries on commercial fishing vessels.

  • Lack of Training. Maritime employers must provide their employees with proper safety training. Untrained workers are much more likely to make mistakes that lead to injury, such as wearing loose clothing and trying to clear a stalled belt while it is still moving.
  • Inadequate Guarding. Conveyor belts should have guard railing that prevents workers from coming into contact with the belt. A lack of guard rails or a railing that is too low makes it easy for crewmembers to get caught in the belt.
  • Failure to Provide Adequate Maintenance. Employers must ensure that conveyor belts are in proper working order and provide routine maintenance and repairs. Broken or improperly installed parts are a common cause of conveyor belt accidents. While conveyor belts are being serviced or repaired, lockout tagout procedures should be used.
What Are Your Legal Rights if You Were Injured in a Conveyor Belt Accident?

As a maritime worker, you have the right to a safe working environment. All seamen injured in conveyor belt accidents on board a fishing vessel are entitled to maintenance and cure, including compensation for basic living expenses and medical costs during recovery.

If the injury resulted from unseaworthiness or your employer’s negligence, you may be owed additional damages under the unseaworthiness doctrine and the Jones Act. You may be granted compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and more. A qualified attorney can evaluate your case and help you get the compensation that you are entitled to.

Kraft Davies, PLLC is a nationally recognized leader in maritime personal injury law. Kraft Davies has significant experience representing seamen injured in conveyor belt injuries. We understand the fishing industry and know how to get you the compensation that you deserve. If you or a loved one were injured in a commercial fishing or shipping accident, contact the attorneys at Kraft Davies today at 206-624-8844 or through this website.