Maritime welding, also known as hyperbaric welding, can be one of the most lucrative occupations that do not require a college degree. However, maritime welding accidents are a frequent occurrence on oil platforms, ships, and underwater construction sites.
According to research by the Center for Disease Control, welder-divers die at 40 times the rate of average Americans. Moreover, drowning and decompression sickness were the leading cause of fatalities, with electrocutions, explosions, and crush injuries causing many accidents as well. With proper training and sound safety protocols, these risks can be mitigated, but they can never be eliminated.
If you or a loved one are injured in an underwater welding accident due to no fault of your own, reach out to a Houston offshore injury lawyer at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. For a no-cost, initial consultation, do not hesitate to contact us right away at (281) 283-8500.
What Are the Risks of Maritime Welding?
To be successful in the profession, maritime welders must be disciplined and aware of their surroundings. They also need to work for employers who don’t cut corners on safety. Every day, maritime workers risk severe injury or death from:
- Drowning – Maritime welders usually work in or around water. In such environments, drowning is always a risk. This risk is multiplied when welders work with heavy equipment in murky waters with low visibility and strong currents. Factors, such as overwork, distractions, disorientation, and equipment failure can all cause underwater welders to drown.
- Decompression sickness – When welders work in deep water, one of their biggest enemies is decompression sickness or the bends. The bends happen when divers come back to the surface too quickly. Gases in the bloodstream escape into surrounding tissue, causing a host of uncomfortable symptoms and medical complications. In severe cases, decompression sickness can cause death.
- Electrical Shock – Water is highly conductive of electricity. Waves and currents can cause the divers to lose balance or their equipment to shift, which can result in loosened grounding cables and short circuits. In some cases, electric equipment simply breaks. Fortunately, accidents because of electric shocks are comparatively rare. The only recorded instance of an American underwater welder being killed by electrocution was at the Deep Sea Diving School in 1943.
- Explosions – Underwater welding produces oxygen and hydrogen gases that can cause explosions if allowed to accumulate. Divers and their backup crews need to be aware of areas where gas collects to avoid deadly explosions.
- Crush injuries – Maritime welders work around heavy machinery and massive structures such as oil platforms. Crush injuries are a common danger to all maritime professionals, but divers and welders face higher risks because of their exposure.
How a Houston Offshore Injury Attorney Can Help
A severe maritime welding accident may cause pain, suffering, and significant medical expenses. It can also result in years and in some cases, a lifetime of lost income for you and your family. The path to compensation is not always clear for maritime welders. Depending on the circumstances of your employment, you might seek compensation under a variety of laws, such as the Jones Act, the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act, or others. At The Krist Law Firm, P.C., we can help you on your path to financial recovery. Call us at (281) 283-8500 today for a free case consultation.