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Fatal Accident at Miami Port Shows Need for Port Workers to Focus on Safety

Mariners and fishermen topped the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' list of most dangerous jobs for 2010. Six other jobs that people regularly do around ports and docks are also on the list, including truck driving, ship and tugboat operation and construction. The list highlights the safety risks that those who work in Florida ports or on ships sailing to and from Miami face every day.

A fatal dock accident in Miami, Florida in March 2011 showed the need for all Florida longshore workers to follow safety precautions to reduce their risk of injury or death.

Defective Ramp Braking System Causes Miami Longshoreman's Death

On March 30, 2011 a member of the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) union working on the ship Seaboard Victory died when a refrigerated container and chassis sitting on a ramp on the ship fell on him. The worker had just released the last chain securing the container when the support holding the front end collapsed, allowing the container to roll forward and crush the worker, who was still crouched down from releasing the chain.

Those involved with investigating the incident, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the ILA, the stevedore, and the Seaboard Victory's operator reported that the braking system that was supposed to control the container was inoperative and the chassis' landing gear support struts were defective.

Port Safety for Florida Longshore and Harborworkers

The ILA recommends that dock workers take the following precautions on the job to help reduce on-the-job injuries and fatalities:

  • Stay focused at all time while working - being distracted causes accidents
  • Be on the lookout for potential hazards or spots where accidents could happen
  • Take adequate time when doing tasks to do them safely and properly
  • Anticipate your own moves and the moves of other workers
  • Know and comply with the government's mandatory safety rules for the industry

Working on or near a ship is a dangerous job. Many are hurt and killed while doing so each year — often through no fault of their own. If you have been injured while working on a port or ship, meet with a Florida maritime accidents attorney to discuss your situation and any compensation to which you may be entitled.

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I met Carolyn Frank about three years ago. Once I met her I knew she was the attorney I needed to handle my case.When we met with her the first time we were there for at least two hours. When I left her office I knew she was the right person to handle my case.At that time my case was 22 years old and I needed someone who knew what they were doing. This was a complex case and it fell under the Long shore Act..There are not many attorneys that handle this type of case in Florida. Mike P.