Olympia is the capital of Washington, but it is also an important port for the state. Lying at the far southern end of the Puget Sound, this is a thriving port serving all of Thurston County and beyond. The port is large and includes an airport, several different districts, including a market, a marina, a boat works, warehouses for storage, and of course, many docks for ships and vessels belonging to all kinds of industries as well as recreational boats.
Since 1922 this port has been a vital part of the city of Olympia. It has expanded from a commercial port to an area that includes markets and shops, recreational facilities, and even residential areas. If you work in the port or on ships that come into port here, you are part of a thriving maritime industry. You are also a part of a work environment that is fraught with hazards. Becoming injured on the job is not unusual and happens more than in any other industry. If you have been injured working here, you have rights. Let an experienced Olympia maritime lawyer help you fight for the compensation you are owed.
Maritime Jobs in the Port of Olympia
The port reports that there are numerous different types of maritime jobs, but some are more common than others. Among the most common maritime jobs here are those related to cargo. The port needs workers to transport cargo to and from container and other types of ships, often by operating large cranes, but also with trucks, forklifts, and other types of transport machinery.
Technicians and repair workers are also in demand in the port. These workers are needed to fix ships, docks, trucks, cranes, and warehouse infrastructure to keep the industry going. Deckhands and longshoremen are also common jobs. Longshoremen stay in the port, working with ships as they come in, while deckhands work aboard the ships and come and go as needed. There are also dredgers in Olympia, those workers who operate the dredging machinery that keeps the port and harbor area clean and deep enough for ships to come in to dock.
The Dangers of Working in a Busy Port
Working in a busy port like that at Olympia means being in harm’s way on a daily basis. There are many inherent risks, but combined with negligence or carelessness, those risks multiply. Warehouses, for example, in ports are large and crowded with stored cargo. If that cargo is not stored properly, it can fall and injure or kill workers. Warehouse fires are also a risk, especially when storage includes flammable materials. Electrical systems that are not well-maintained only add to the risk.
The busy port area outside of the warehouses is also a minefield for potential accidents. There are workers on foot, walking back and forth, truck drivers moving cargo, and crane operators handling huge, heavy loads overhead. If any of this machinery malfunctions, it can have devastating consequences. Even the trucks represent a danger in this crowded setting. Just one moment of inattention can lead to a worker being struck by one of these transport vehicles.
Finally, there is the water itself and the ships in dock. If you work as a longshoreman, going back and forth from dock to ship, you are at risk of falling or being knocked into the water. Workers have been crushed between ships and walls or ships and docks after these falls. They have also drowned after a fall that no one noticed or when safety and rescue equipment was not immediately available. All of these accidents and many more are possible in ports and many could be prevented if workers and their employers took the proper precautions in all aspects of port work.
Examples of Olympia Accidents
Accidents that injure port workers are not just speculative. They have happened and the consequences have been serious. In 2014, for instance, a worker was hit by the bucket on a dredger and had to be airlifted to a hospital for emergency treatment. What caused the dredger bucket to lose control and strike him was not known, but being hit by such a large object can have serious consequences.
Another incident at the Port of Olympia occurred in 2015 when hydrogen peroxide, a toxic and highly reactive chemical spilled out of a storm water treatment facility in the port area. Although the spill was cleaned up and no one was hurt, the incident required a major evacuation and workers could have been harmed by coming into contact with the chemical or by inhaling it.
Legal Resources for Port of Olympia Workers
If you work at the port or on a ship that comes to dock there and you are injured at work, you have rights to compensation to cover the incurred costs. As the result of an accident, which was likely preventable, you may have a lot of medical bills to pay, lost wages because you cannot go back to work, and other costs. Federal laws are there to protect you in case your employer is refusing to provide compensation.
To navigate the complicated maritime laws and to figure out which apply to you, rely on a professional, experience, and successful maritime lawyer. A knowledgeable lawyer can make sure you don’t make any mistakes and risk losing your compensation. He or she can also act as your representation and go up against your employer’s insurance company to get you the money you need to get back on your feet.