Longshoremen are men and women who work on the docks of ports. These individuals load and unload cargo from ships, boats and barges at ports, including those in North Carolina. They are crucial workers for the shipping industry, whuch moves good around the country.

The nature of the work and the site conditions make this a very dangerous job. The people who do this job are at risk of suffering from injuries or even death. Keeping these workers safe is vital for everyone involved because an injured worker could mean that the dock is now short one person, which could impact daily production. In some cases, shipment unloading and loading could be delayed due to accidents involving longshoremen.

Equipment hazards

The equipment used to do this job can include large machinery like cranes or smaller machines like forklifts. Using these properly is imperative for these workers. One considerable risk that they face is being run over or pinned between the equipment and another object. When cargo is moved overhead, there is a risk that the items will be dropped on top of a person, which could be fatal.

Ropes and tethers

Ropes and tethers that are used in this industry are often under great stress. Care must be exercised around them. A cable that snaps could lead to amputations or dismemberment if the cable was under enough tension when it snapped. When cables, ropes and tethers are near the ground, they pose a trip hazard if they aren’t clearly marked and if longshoremen aren’t paying close attention to where they are walking.

Noise hazards

Loading docks are often very loud places. All of the equipment noises can combine to pose a risk for hearing loss. Hearing protection is necessary for workers who are exposed to loud noises on a consistent or intermittent basis. Workers who have on earmuffs or other hearing protection might be at risk of missing out on auditory cues that a danger is near, so this must also be considered.

Surface hazards

Surface hazards like water or oil on the ground, as well as uneven surfaces, can pose slip hazards. Longshoremen should have on shoes that are slip-resistant to help minimize the risk of a slip-and-fall accident. These shoes usually need to have steel toes to help prevent crushing injuries if an object falls on their foot. When water is present on the ground, care must be taken to avoid electrical currents coming into contact with the water or workers.

In cases of injured longshoremen, workers’ compensation claims are usually necessary. This helps workers to have some income if they can’t work, and it also helps them to get their medical bills covered.