How To Handle Defective Maritime Equipment

Workers in the maritime industry are essential in transporting cargoes and passengers. During emergencies, they’re the people who are responsible for moving essentials, often in bulk. Yet, the other end of working in this industry faces multiple challenges. One of these is handling defective maritime equipment.

If you’re working in ships and boats, you’ll probably use malfunctioning equipment. When that happens, what’ll you do? What steps will you take to ensure you’d handle the defective equipment well? What would you do if accidents happened because of faulty equipment? If you don’t know the answers yet, here’s an article that could help you.

How To Handle Defective Maritime Equipment

What You Should Know About Defective Equipment

In most cases, maritime businesses run checkups for their equipment. Through this, workers could examine whether or not a particular tool is fit for work. The causes of faulty equipment differ in every case. In some cases, the manufacturer’s design is the culprit. Sometimes, it’s the natural wear and tear. Other times, exposure to elements cause the defect.

On the legal side, defective maritime equipment could be a valid liability claim. Yet, the equipment could only be identified as a proper liability if the accident that it caused had happened in navigable water. To be specific, the accident or injury occurred in any of the following situations:

  • if a vessel is out in the open sea
  • if a boat is docked but is in traversable waters
  • happened during the aggrieved party’s maritime-related work

Suppose you’re in New Jersey and its nearby areas and you met an accident due to defective equipment. In that case, you may contact a New Jersey boat accident attorney. The latter could provide an in-depth explanation of what legal steps to take. In addition, you would understand the flaws of the product or equipment that led to the accident.


What Are Considered As Defective Equipment

Maritime products and equipment may differ in each sub-industry. Yet, all this equipment could turn faulty because of defective designs and subpar materials. Furthermore, poor construction may also be considered.

The following are some of the equipment that is linked to maritime accidents:

  • Cranes
  • Electronics
  • Conveyor belts
  • Fuel tanks
  • Anchor
  • Fishing nets
  • Engines
  • Trawl winches
  • Plate freezer
  • Generators
  • Safety equipment


Ways In Handling Defective Maritime Equipment

If you work at sea or in a vessel, knowing how to handle defective equipment could save lives and prevent injuries. The following are some of the steps that you may take to maximize safety at work:

1. Inspect Equipment Properly

Whether you’re a worker in a fish trawler or shipping, you probably use the same equipment every day. To prevent accidents, you may run maintenance checks. If you want to know more about this process, here are some insights that could assist you:

  • Pre-Checking

You may set standards on current performance for the quality and efficiency of the equipment. For example, a generator typically supplies power for 16 straight hours. If the generator has been energizing less than the standard hours, it could mean a problem. As a crew, you’d need to be mindful of these minor changes as they may be signs of trouble. Ignoring them could lead to more complications.

  • Read And Follow The Manual

Whether your equipment is bought through the internet or your local distributor, reading the manual is necessary. Understanding the manufacturer’s instructions makes you more knowledgeable about the maritime product. If the functions and conditions of the equipment you use differ from what the manual says, you could stop using the equipment.

Then, you could report it as faulty if proven upon inspection. In addition, if you use a piece of new equipment and notice that the latter functions differently, you may share your experience with others. You may also talk it out with your seniors and colleagues. Perhaps, there’s a product callout of the manufacturer that you’ve missed. You may consider this as new equipment doesn’t always equate to high performance. So, it would help if you were cautious at all times.

  • Create A Log

Listing down the efficiency changes of equipment could be helpful in monitoring defects. This log could be legitimate reference in case an investigation is conducted in the future. In addition, it could help managers in choosing what products to repair or throw away.

  • Run Preventive Maintenance Checks

To make sure that the tools and equipment are functional, you could check their fluid levels and filters. In addition, you may oil them if necessary. Remove the dirt, dust, and rust that may affect their performance. Also, look for worn and torn portions. For equipment with belts, check for skewed idlers or locked rollers. For equipment with motors and engines, recalibrate them regularly.

  • Look For Signs Of Damages

In most cases, equipment shows signs of wearing and tearing before becoming completely defective. Here are some of them:

  • nonstandard sound
  • oil or water leakage
  • burnt smell
  • high vibration
  • smoke
  • misalignment of parts
  • quick consumption of fuel
  • loose connections
  • Apply Predictive Maintenance

Aside from preventive maintenance, you may run predictive maintenance. It’s a process that foresees what may happen based on the previous records of equipment. Apart from the equipment, some points to consider are the operator’s skills and the weather (if they’re working in an open area).

2. Report To The Owner Or Managing Personnel

To reduce risks with the faulty equipment, you need to report authentic assessments to concerned personnel. This way, they’ll learn about the materials and equipment that may cause trouble. In addition, the summary data could help them analyze which products and materials are prone to damages.

3. Label The Products Identified As Malfunctioning

Aside from recording, labeling the faulty products is another legal requirement. Because of this, maritime businesses should ensure that defective products are labeled in stored in safe places. If you’ve met an accident caused by unlabeled malfunctioning tools, you could use ‘non-labeling’ as a legal liability. It’s a ground for your legal claim of a work-related accident.

4. Dispose Of Defective Equipment

If tools and equipment aren’t useful anymore, you may need to dispose of them immediately. Even if they’re not in good working condition, using them may cause injuries—or worse—fatality. You may need a removal service company to assist you on this matter if the equipment is beyond repair.


Types Of Injuries Related To Defective Maritime Equipment

Faulty equipment may give more trouble than meets the eye. In most cases, workers end up injured. Generally, it takes months before they can work again. Sometimes, workers turn out into worse conditions. If you want to know more about the common injuries that might occur in maritime work, here are some of them:

  • Cargo Injuries

Cargo accidents may take place anywhere from loading to offloading. In most cases, mechanical failure and human error cause these accidents. Yet, with better maintenance and workers’ training, cargo accidents could be reduced.

  • Conveyor Belt Injuries

Maritime workers in fishing and cargo industries generally face challenges with conveyor belts. The volume of equipment with belts makes their tasks more challenging than the others. In most cases, they’re using pulleys and gears to move or haul heavy loads. Their clothes or any part connected to them may be caught in the process, leading to injuries.

  • Fishing-Related Accidents

 Aside from the dangers posed by the heavy fish loads, workers also face this challenge while using trawl winches. In most accidents, the winches cause fractures, cuts, bumps, and other worse conditions when they hit the fishers.

  • Other Boat-Related Accidents

Workers may also be involved in boating accidents, especially in fishing. These accidents apply to transporting of cargoes or loads of fish, if the fishers choose smaller vessels. In most cases, they’re caused by inattentive operators or adverse weather. The former is often liable to the accident. In the case of the latter, the immediate liability points to the boat owner or in the case of workers—the employer.


Defective Maritime Equipment Liability

Under maritime law, if a person ends up injured, the manufacturers are accountable. If employers fail to identify the faulty equipment, they also have a legal obligation. This applies if the aggrieved person works on a maritime-related task.

If you’re an employee on a boat or ship and ignored the problem, you may also be liable for the injury. For that reason, you may need to have an equipment maintenance plan and a disposal plan to get rid of faulty equipment at the soonest possible time. If you’re an employer, you may also need to form a risk management team to address and plan out for issues.


Wrapping Up

Without equipment, workers could perform less than what’s expected from them. More often, equipment makes every task and product better. It also helps in ensuring that the deliverables are produced on time. Yet, workers should always be careful when using equipment to prevent injuries or worse conditions.

If you’re in the maritime industry, you may want to apply what you’ve got from this article. They might come in handy in determining what to do before, during, and after risky situations.

Francis Nwokike

Francis Nwokike is the Founder and Chief Editor of The Total Entrepreneurs. A Social Entrepreneur and experienced Disaster Manager. He loves researching and discussing business trends and providing startups with valuable insights into running a profitable business. He created TTE to share ideas and tips to help entrepreneurs run and grow their businesses.

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