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Electrical Injuries on Ships, Ferries, Barges, and Fishing Vessels

Electrical power is essential to the proper functioning of most ships, ferries, barges, and fishing vessels. Among other uses, electrical power runs the lighting, navigation systems, winches, conveyor belt, fishing equipment, and wireless devices. Because of the dangerous combination of water and electricity, maritime workers are at a higher risk of injury resulting from electrical accidents.

What are Common Electrical Accidents on Ships?

Various accidents relating to electrical systems can occur on ships. These electrical accidents can result in severe and sometimes fatal injuries. The three most common accidents are electrical shocks, electrical fires, and electrical system failure.

  • Electrical Shocks. Electrical shock is the physical stimulation or trauma caused by the flow of electricity through the human body. It occurs when an individual comes into contact or is near live electrical parts. Electrical shock injuries range from mild to severe and can even result in death. Possible injuries include heart attack, burns, seizures, numbness, and injuries from being thrown or falling. The severity of the injury will depend on the amount of current that is running through the system.
  • Electrical Fires. Unlike electrical shocks, electrical fires can cause injury to multiple crewmembers at the same time. Electrical fires can cause smoke inhalation injuries, burns, falls overboard, and vessel sinking.
  • Electrical System Failure. Electrical system failure is so serious because it causes other vital equipment to stop working. For example, if a vessel is left without a navigation system, it may collide with other ships or run aground, resulting in serious injuries.
What are Common Causes of Electrical Injuries on Ships?

The three most common causes of electrical injuries on ships are 1) improperly maintained electrical equipment, 2) improperly trained workers, and 3) unsafe working environments.

  • Improperly Maintained Electrical Equipment. Vessel owners must regularly inspect, maintain, and repair electrical systems to ensure that they are in proper working order. Corroded connectors, damaged wire insulation, and worn cables all pose a significant risk of electrical injuries.
  • Improperly Trained Workers. If workers are not properly trained and do not follow the correct procedures when working with systems, electrical injuries can result.
  • Unsafe Working Environment. Employers must provide their employees with a safe working environment. Standing water near electrical equipment, exposed wires, and a lack of lighting in condensed spaces are all examples of unsafe working environments.

Employers should provide safety measures including grounding, insulation, guards, protective wear, and proper training to protect workers.

Are You Entitled to Compensation If You Suffered an Electrical Injury on a Ship?

If you have suffered an electrical injury on a vessel, it is important to know your rights under maritime law. You should reach out to an experienced maritime attorney as soon as possible to ensure that you get the compensation that you are entitled to. The road to recovery after an electrical injury can be long and expensive.

Kraft Davies, PLLC is a nationally recognized leader in maritime personal injury law. Kraft Davies has significant experience representing seamen injured in electrical accidents. 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.