A 64-year-old male was injured after sustaining a blunt force trauma to the face by a loose crane hook. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector North Bend received a call at about 9:55am on Monday, October 22nd from the 334-foot F/V ARCTIC STORM. The vessel was located approximately 25 miles west of Brookings, OR at the time of the incident.
The duty flight surgeon recommended an immediate medevac for the injured man, and an MLB crew aboard a 47-foot Motor Life Boat from Station Chetco River was dispatched. Upon their arrival, the injured crewmember was stabilized then transported ashore to emergency medical services. His condition is currently unknown.
Crane hook injuries can be devastating as crane hooks are generally constructed from wrought iron or steel to create a durable device that can bear massive amounts of weight. Commercial fishing boats use cranes, crane hooks, and winches to load and unload supplies, catches, and equipment. Crane hooks can fail, cause injuries and even death due to inadequate maintenance, miscommunication, and lack of signals between the crew. Improper use, inappropriate modifications, lack of training, inadequate inspection of the apparatus, and lifting loads that exceed safe ratings may also cause accidents.
It is important that employers develop a detailed crane safety plan and checklist that is specific to the worksite, which ensures that operators are trained, cranes are certified, and that cranes are operated using the manufacturer’s guidelines and industry best practices. Each stage of crane operation aboard a fishing vessel can pose potential hazards. All workers should be trained, and the checklist should be explained to everyone.
Under the Jones Act and General Maritime Law, crewmembers who have been injured through negligence or unseaworthiness are entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, disfigurement, psychological injuries, lost wages, lost wage-earning capacity, vocational retraining, and future health care expenses. In almost all cases, injured workers are entitled to maintenance and cure, including the payment of all necessary medical expenses and rehabilitation costs. If you have suffered injuries while working at sea, contact Stacey and Jacobsen, PLLC for a no-cost consultation.