Longshoremen, or dock workers, are the backbone of the maritime industry. These workers play a pivotal role in the loading and unloading of ships. Their job demands physical strength, agility, and a keen sense of awareness.
The work environment of a longshoreman is dangerous. Risks include heavy equipment and a high volume of traffic. This demanding, physical job often leads to injury.
Back strain and injuries
Musculoskeletal injuries are the most common workplace injury in the United States, and longshoremen suffer their share of them. Lifting heavy cargo is an integral part of the daily routine on the docks. Improper lifting techniques can cause back injuries, including muscle sprains and herniated discs. Repetitive lifting can worsen these issues, causing long-term discomfort and pain.
Falls and slip-related injuries
The docks can be slippery, especially during adverse weather conditions. Slips and falls on the dock can cause sprained ankles, fractures or even head trauma. Longshoremen should wear non-slip footwear and keep walkways clear and dry.
Longshoremen work alongside heavy machinery and moving cargo. This increases the risk of objects striking the workers. Serious injuries, including fractures, concussions or even fatalities, may result. Workers must follow safety protocols, wear high-visibility clothing and maintain clear communication.
Cargo containers, when mishandled or improperly secured, pose a significant threat. Longshoremen may suffer crush injuries if they get caught between shifting containers. These injuries can be severe, causing fractures, internal injuries or limb amputations. Proper training and following safety guidelines are important.
Repetitive strain injuries (RSI)
Repetitive motions, such as twisting, gripping or bending, may lead to RSI. Such movements are a big part of the dock worker’s job. This can cause carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis to develop over time, causing chronic pain and decreased mobility. Regular breaks, ergonomic equipment and exercises can help lower the risk of RSI.