Sailor Suffers Permanent Injuries Due to Unsafe Conditions

Joseph O'Neill

Written by
— Updated on April 9, 2018

Maritime Safety Expert WitnessThis admiralty case takes place in Florida and involves an injury that was sustained while at sea. The plaintiff was injured trying to help bring up several heavy cases of equipment and supplies through a trap door. After placing the cases on the deck near the opened trapdoor the plaintiff accidentally stepped through the open trap door, causing him to fall nearly 10 feet to the deck below. The ship was deployed over navigable waters and was underway when the plaintiff sustained serious injuries to his neck and back. This case required an expert who was familiar with maritime safety, the shipping industry, had relevant safety training, and is knowledgeable of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Do you know the proper protocol for safely working near open trapdoors?

Expert Witness Response E-008094

I am most definitely an expert on trapdoors, specifically on the safety and usage of trapdoors. I have captained ships for 30 years and have had crews use trapdoors and various other types of hatches and bulkheads, as well as using trapdoors myself throughout my career in the Navy and commercial career. Currently, I teach safety to ship operators in both commercial and passenger industries. Part of this training involves trapdoor safety training, so I am very well qualified as an expert on this matter.

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