While some occupations in Texas come with more potentially dangerous working conditions than others, the maritime industry faces a large number of barge accidents in general. Injuries in this industry can result from malfunctioning operations, slips and falls, tugboat accidents and heavy equipment, among many other incidents. Employers provide barge workers proper safety procedures to follow upon working shifts; however, accidents in this industry nevertheless occur.
WorkBoat, an online resource that provides information on the U.S. workboat industry, covers barge-related accidents in the state of Texas. One report that describes a tragic workboat wreck in 2016 makes note of possible reasons for the accident, including the captain’s use of a risky downstreaming maneuver. According to WorkBoat, such maneuevers are a common reason behind many workboat accidents. Employers train captains to address and work with strong currents and high water levels, but unfortunately, weathering such harsh elements can be a difficult and dangerous pursuit despite rigorous training.
In addition to accident coverage, the National Transportation Safety Board released a 2016 safety and information manual regarding marine accidents. Among the most significant factors that led to workboat accidents include operator fatigue, use of medication while operating vessels, distractions, errors in operational testing procedures and operating in strong currents. The NTSB urges marine workers to review the manual in the hopes that they may become better aware of past accidents and practice better safety procedures as a whole. Some contributing factors to accidents–such as distraction and fatigue–can create danger in a number of everday situations. However, when paired with workboat operations, such factors can pose a threat to workers’ wellbeing and can even lead to injury or fatality.