Shipyards and marine-related businesses employ people in a wide variety of jobs. With this comes different means of injury coverage for the people who work there. Just because you believe your employees are properly covered does not mean that they are.
Here are three areas of injury coverage:
• Jones Act: This law covers employees who are considered crewmembers on vessels. Seamen employed on vessels traveling from U.S. port to U.S. port are entitled to coverage under the Jones Act. It is provided under your vessel’s Protection and Indemnity policy. Crew are covered for injury and illness while “in service to the ship” through the maintenance and cure portion of the coverage. Crew are also entitled to sue the ship or ship owner for unseaworthy or negligent conditions which they believe caused their injury. To be considered a crewmember, employees must spend roughly a third of their time at work in service to the ship.
• USL&H: Employees who work around docks, wharves or service a vessel fall under the U.S. Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. These are stevedores, repair crew, crane operators or similar employees who service, load, or go on and off vessels but are not considered crewmembers. The two determining factors for USL&H are “situs” and “status,” both of which need to be met. To meet the situs test, the injury must occur while working on or near navigable waters. The status test is met by the work being done. Even if you have a boatyard that you feel would never have a USL&H risk, it is very inexpensive to have this coverage added to your state workers compensation policy on an ‘if any’ basis. This gives you some coverage against a claim.
• State workers’ compensation: Your office staff and other employees are covered under your state workers’ compensation act. Keep in mind that if you have employees who work in states other than where your business is based then you need to list these as well. State workers’ compensation acts are no-fault laws which means they cover a claim as long as the employee’s accident occurred within the scope of their employment.