Burn injuries are always serious, but those sustained at sea can be especially perilous for maritime workers. Commercial seamen are frequently exposed to electrical equipment and flammable chemicals, putting them at risk of fire, explosion, and electrical accidents.
Shipboard fires are among the most dangerous sorts of maritime casualties. Even though a ship is surrounded by water, a fire onboard can trap mariners and passengers in tight spaces with nowhere to go. When a ship is on fire, the crew may be trapped in the middle of the ocean. Fires on ships can be fatal, it can cause a life-threatening if not fatal maritime injury. Those who escape a fire, however, may suffer significant maritime injuries from smoke inhalation as well as burns.
Explosions, as well as electrical incidents and hot surfaces that a crew member contacts, can result in burn injuries. Burns can also be caused by welding equipment utilized in the construction or repair of vessels. If you've suffered burn injuries on the job in the maritime industry, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Maritime law may entitle workers to compensation for harm suffered offshore or aboard a vessel.
Although fire and other heat sources—such as a boiler—may be the obvious cause of a maritime burn injury, a seafarer can be burned in other ways too. Chemicals, as well as electricity, radiation, and sunlight, can produce burns. Scalding burns from heat, steam and other hot gases and hot liquids are the most prevalent causes of shipboard burn injuries.
Burns may be classified according to their severity:
First-Degree Burns — these are the mildest, although they can still be harmful. Only the outer layer of skin is affected by these burns. Red skin, swelling, and discomfort are some of the symptoms.
Second-Degree Burns — the outer layer of skin, as well as the layer beneath it, are both damaged by this sort of burn. Red skin, splotchy skin, swelling, and discomfort are all signs of a second-degree burn. There may be blisters as well.
Third-Degree Burns — the most severe sort of burn is a third-degree burn. It damages the deepest layers of the skin, as well as the tissue beneath it. Charred blackness on the skin, a waxy or leathery aspect, and even numbness if nerves have been scorched are all symptoms.
Shipboard fires can harm mariners when:
Fires occur in the engine room. When equipment malfunctions and ignites, engine room fires can quickly spread.
There was an electrical failure. Electrical equipment that sparks can cause a fire.
The various forms of flammable fuels used on ships ignites.
Even minor burns should be treated right away. Cooling the affected skin region with cool but not frigid water is a first aid measure for minor burn injuries. Any clothing or jewelry that may have come into contact with the burned region should be removed, and blisters should be handled gently so that they do not rupture. A person with more severe burns, such as second-and third-degree burns, need prompt medical assistance. Patients with severe burns may require continuous care after receiving emergency treatment—sometimes including skin grafts and medically induced comas.
Maritime burns can be excruciating and require extensive medical treatment. If you or a loved one has suffered shipboard burns, it is important to call a seasoned maritime lawyer as soon as possible. This can be an overwhelming time, but a Mariner Law, PLLC Jones Act lawyer is standing by to assist. Call (253) 600-2531 now for a free discussion of your case with an offshore injury lawyer. You may be entitled to benefits or compensation under the Jones Act, LHWCA, unseaworthiness, and maintenance and cure. The firm proudly serves mariner clients in Washington, Oregon, New York, Connecticut, Alaska, and nationwide.