If you work on a ship that travels through the ocean, you're at risk for hypothermia, a deadly condition in which your body temperature drops below95 degrees Fahrenheit. Maritime employees are at a higher risk of experiencing hypothermia injuries than those in most other industries. Seamen are frequently in danger of developing hypothermia on the job due to frigid working conditions and the risk of falling overboard into icy waters.
The average temperature in the body is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Being exposed to cold air and weather, as well as being immersed in cold water, causes hypothermia injuries. The time it takes to reach hypothermia varies depending on the temperature of the air or water.
Shivering, rapid breathing, exhaustion, difficulty speaking, hunger, disorientation, an elevated heart rate, and confusion are all symptoms of mild hypothermia, which is defined as a body temperature of 95 degrees. Moderate to severe hypothermia, defined as a body temperature of 94 degrees or lower, might cause shivering to stop, which can be alarming.
Moderate to severe hypothermia causes erratic behavior, confusion, lethargy, short breathing, a weak pulse, and loss of consciousness. Unfortunately, mariners die from hypothermia every year after going overboard at sea. Some are never found.
Hypothermia is a dangerous condition that, if not addressed, can be deadly or lead to further issues. Frostbite, or the freezing of body tissues, is one of them.
When an individual is subjected to hypothermia, one of two things can happen:
Accidental Hypothermia: If a person is involved in an accident, such as falling in cold water or being exposed to prolonged harsh weather, hypothermia can occur.
Secondary hypothermia occurs when a person is already sick or in poor health, has taken the wrong drugs, or is in poor recovery. Secondary hypothermia can occur as a result of a reduction in body temperature.
The main goal of hypothermia injury treatment is to restore normal body temperature. If you feel you're suffering from hypothermia on the job, seek medical help right once. Getting to a warm environment and employing blankets and heat sources to warm the body are essential first aid measures for hypothermia. If you get hypothermic as a result of a fall overboard, you will need to remove your wet clothing to keep warm. Warm compresses, blankets, and hot drinks can all assist in raising your body temperature.
Onboard ships, seafarers operate in a variety of temperatures and weather situations and can suffer maritime injury like hypothermia:
When a seafarer falls into the water, such as during a man overboard incident. If the water temperature is cold or there is ice in the area, the scenario will be more dangerous.
A seafarer is working on deck in a chilly climate without suitable winter clothing.
Without sufficiently warm gear, a mariner is exposed to a very cold zone (e.g., Alaska in the winter).
A seaman operating in a frigid storage room for an extended period of time without proper warming safety equipment.
Maritime injuries like hypothermia do not have to be caused by severely cold conditions, according to OSHA. They can occur at both land and sea temperatures above freezing, and can strike even if the water temperature is just below the body's normal temperature.
Not only should all maritime employees be taught the dangers of maritime injuries like hypothermia and what to look out for, but they should also take the following precautions:
If you're working in chilly weather, take frequent breaks in a heated shelter.
Warm, high-calorie foods and beverages should be consumed.
Hypothermia injuries can be minor and, if treated promptly, can have no long-term consequences. Otherwise, it can result in frostbite and amputations, which can be life-threatening. You may be entitled to compensation if you have to miss work due to hypothermia injuries, pay for medical treatment, or suffer other maritime injuries.
Know your rights under the Jones Act, LHWCA, unseaworthiness, and maintenance and cure if you were exposed to hypothermia injuries on the job and make sure you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries, lost earnings, and suffering. A lawyer who has assisted maritime employees file claims under the Jones Act and maritime law can walk you through the process, help you figure out which statutes apply to you, and offer you the best chance of being successful.
Mariner Law, PLLC knows maritime law and understands the industry. Maritime Lawyer Adam Deitz can help you secure maximum compensation in your hypothermia injuries case. If a loved one suffered hypothermia injuries and tragically died at sea, you might be entitled to damages under federal maritime law. But time is of the essence. Call (253) 600-2531 now for a free consultation. The firm proudly serves mariner clients in Washington, Oregon, New York, Connecticut, Alaska, and nationwide.