Workers’ Compensation Laws Governing Longshore and Harbor Workers
Longshore and harbor workers receive special protection under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA), which provides financial compensation, medical care, and vocational rehabilitation services to individuals disabled from job injuries sustained in the navigable waters of the US or in adjoining areas. Under the LHWCA, dependents of fatally injured workers also receive benefits. These benefits are paid by a private insurance company or the self-insured employer.
The LHWCA covers longshore workers, shipbuilders, ship-repairers, and harbor construction workers. To qualify for compensation, workers must have sustained injuries in the navigable waters of the US or in the adjoining areas, including wharves, terminals, docks, piers, and loading and unloading areas. Non-maritime employees may also receive compensation if injured while performing work on navigable water.
The following individuals are not covered by the LHWCA:
- Seamen (which are masters or members of a crew of any vessel)
- Employees of the US government or of any state or foreign government
- Employees whose injuries were caused solely by their intoxication
- Employees injured due to their own willful intention to harm themselves or others
The LHWCA also excludes individuals covered by a state workers’ compensation law:
- Office clerical, secretarial, security, or data processing workers
- Individuals employed by a recreational operation, restaurant, museum, club, camp, or retail outlet
- Marina workers not engaged in construction, replacement or expansion of a marina
- Individuals employed by transporters, suppliers, or vendors who are doing temporary work on the premises of a maritime employer and aren’t doing work typically performed by the employer’s workers
- Aquaculture workers
- Workers building a recreational vessel less than 65 feet long, repairing a recreational vessel, or dismantling any part of a recreational vessel during repair
- Small vessel workers, under certain conditions
How To Report An Injury
The first step is to notify the supervisor or manager of the injury as soon as possible. Workers who need medical attention should also seek treatment immediately. Workers can select a physician to treat their injuries.
The Form LS-1, Request for Examination and/or Treatment, should also be completed by the worker for medical treatment authorization. In emergency cases, the worker may request authorization after obtaining emergency care.