If you work in the port or on ships that come into the Port of Olympia, you are part of a thriving but dangerous maritime 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.
The Maritime Industry in Olympia, Washington
Olympia is the capital of Washington, but it is also an important port for the state. Lying at the far southern end of Puget Sound, this is a thriving port serving all of Thurston County and beyond.
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The port is large and includes an airport, several different districts, including a market, a marina, boat works, warehouses for storage, and of course, many docks for ships and vessels belonging to all kinds of industries and 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 with markets, shops, recreational facilities, and even residential areas.
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 containers and other types of ships, often by operating large cranes but also with trucks, forklifts, and different kinds of transport machinery.
In addition to cargo handlers, several other jobs keep the Port of Olympia functioning:
- Technicians and repair workers are also in demand in the port. To keep the industry going, these workers must fix ships, docks, trucks, cranes, and warehouse infrastructure.
- Deckhands and longshoremen are also typical jobs.
- Longshoremen stay in the port, working with crafts as they come in, while deckhands work aboard the vessel 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 dock.
The Dangers of Working in a Busy Port
Working in a busy port like that at Olympia means being in harm’s way daily. There are many inherent risks, but those risks multiply, combined with negligence or carelessness.
Warehouses, for example, in ports are large and crowded with stored cargo. If that cargo is not stored correctly, it can fall and injure or kill workers. Warehouse fires are also a risk, mainly 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 heavy loads overhead.
If any of this machinery malfunctions, it can have devastating consequences. Even the trucks represent a danger in this crowded setting. 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 the dock. If you work as a longshoreman, going back and forth from port to ship, you risk 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 these accidents and many more are possible in ports and 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 severe. In 2014, a worker was hit by a 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 unknown, 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 stormwater treatment facility in the port area.
Although the spill was cleaned up and no one was hurt, the incident required a significant evacuation, and workers could have been harmed by coming into contact with the chemical or inhaling it.
Legal Resources for Port of Olympia Workers
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.
If you work at the port or on a ship that comes to dock and is injured, you have the right to compensation to cover the incurred costs. Federal maritime laws are there to protect you in case your employer refuses to provide compensation.
To navigate the complicated maritime laws and determine which apply to you, rely on a professional, experienced, and successful maritime lawyer.
A knowledgeable lawyer can ensure you don’t make any mistakes and risk losing compensation. They 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.