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Louisiana Wind Farm Maritime Lawyer Dealing With The Jones Act

With a push towards green renewable energy and the development of sustainable fuel sources, there has been much work done to seek out alternatives to oil and gas. Wind farm technology is one such source that has seen considerable growth in the last decade. And although wind farm technology means a closer step to clean energy in America, it does come with its own issues and challenges, including the opportunity for offshore workers to sustain catastrophic injuries.

What Is A Wind Farm?

wind farm gulf of mexico
via APnews

Using the wide open space of large bodies of water, typically the ocean but not always, massive wind turbines are constructed to harness the natural energy created by the wind. Currently there are only two wind farms operating in the United States however sights are set on major expansion over the next ten years with a plan to develop wind farms in the Gulf of Mexico. The state of Louisiana has pledged to build a wind farm capable of producing 5 gigawatts (GW) of power, to put that into perspective 1 GW is able to power over 1 million homes. This would be a huge step forward in renewable energy.

The Gulf’s first two zones for offshore wind farms were selected near Lake Charles, and Galveston, Texas. 

The commercial leasing process for the two areas is expected to begin by the middle of 2023. After a multi-year site assessment, survey process and environmental review, offshore wind developers could begin installing turbines before 2030.

Offshore wind could be a key component to achieving our nation’s clean energy goals to lower costs and cut pollution, while creating good jobs for Americans.

The Gulf region is well-positioned to be a wind energy powerhouse. Thanks to the offshore oil and gas industry, the Gulf Coast already boasts many of the skill sets required for the offshore wind industry, including steel fabricators, marine engineers and vessel operators.

Common Jobs for Offshore Workers

workers1 scaled
via stormgeo

There are a number of employment opportunities for people looking to work in the offshore wind farm industry. A number of these jobs are specialized and require serious training and skills to be able to do them accurately and safely. Some wind farm working positions include:

  • Wind technicians
  • Divers
  • Merchant mariners
  • Electricians
  • Engineers
  • Machinists & Welders
  • Deckhands
  • General Laborers
  • Inspectors & Surveyors

Building a wind farm is a massive undertaking and each phase of construction and even operation poses significant risks and possibility for injury. The preparation of the body of water’s floor for construction, the laying of cables, the handling of electrical components and the installation of the actual turbine are all complex which can lead to injuries when things go wrong. When injuries happen it is important to speak with a local maritime lawyer like those at Lavis Law Firm about the possibility of compensation to help cover medical costs and other financial compensation from these injuries.

Some of the work activities these technicians perform are:

  • Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment — Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
  • Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment — Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing machines, devices, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of electrical or electronic (not mechanical) principles.
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
  • Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
  • Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or watercraft.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

The wind farm technicians need to have certain abilities in order to perform the work. Those abilities include:

  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
  • Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Dynamic Strength — The ability to exert muscle force repeatedly or continuously over time. This involves muscular endurance and resistance to muscle fatigue.
  • Extent Flexibility — The ability to bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.

Common Offshore Wind Farm Injuries

With the scope of work involved with both building and running a wind farm the possibility of injury is great. Even the specialized vessels that are built and used for the creation of a wind farm pose a risk to workers. There are also many uncontrollable variables when working on water which increases the chances of injury for workers. Some of the most common types of injuries that offshore workers can sustain while working on a wind farm include:

  • Crush injuries or falling object injuries
  • Burns caused by electrical shock or explosions
  • Severe lacerations or internal bleeding
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Fractured bones and spinal damage
  • Hypothermia and frostbite
  • Drowning and other wrongful death

Any of these injuries could have life-changing consequences for the injured party or their loved ones. Because offshore work is not done onland the regulations for employees that are injured are different and they do not qualify for the same worker’s compensation benefits as other workers. Instead seamen and women rely on The Jones Act and general maritime law to help them receive compensation when they have been injured on the job.

The Jones Act is a federal law which states that employees have the right to sue their employers when they sustain serious injuries while working due to some form of negligence on the part of the owner, captain, or crew. If wind farm workers are not on a vessel for an extended period of time they might not qualify for compensation through the Jones Act in which case an experienced maritime lawyer would look to the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act and LHWCA 905(b) or other compensation laws to help a worker looking for compensation after being injured.

How To Qualify For Wind Farm Injury Compensation

Maritime law is already quite complex and wind farms have only made it more so. Because wind farm technology is so new, the laws revolving around wind farms are continually evolving this includes laws that deal with injured offshore workers. That is why it truly is best to speak with an experienced maritime lawyer near you about how to proceed when injured on the job. They will be able to help you determine if you qualify for compensation under the Jones Act, the LHWCA or possibly under some other general maritime law. A New Orleans maritime Jones Act lawyer will help you go through the circumstances of your accident to determine who is at fault and who should be held accountable.

Contact A Louisiana Wind Farm Maritime Lawyer Near You Today

LavisIMG 0337 web croppedIf you or a loved one is an offshore worker for a wind farm whether that be working on the specialized installation vessel, at the turbines or in some other capacity and you have sustained an injury don’t hesitate to contact Lavis Law Firm, we can help. Contact our Louisiana law office closest to you to set up a free case consultation. 866.558.9151

We have offices in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Harvey, and Metairie.

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