The Longshore Act

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The Longshore Act is a federal statute that is formally titled the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act; essentially, the Act is a federal workers’ compensation program that is limited in scope to a particular class of workers.  The Act is administered by the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs, Employment Standards Administration, U.S. Department of Labor.  Generally, the Act covers employers in the business of maritime operations in the United States, as well as employees engaged in maritime work or in a maritime occupation.  There are other federal statutes and acts of legislation that cover other types of workers that may be closely related to the maritime industry, and some state workers’ compensation statutes may provide coverage for other workers who work in or around United States’ waters, but not in maritime-related occupations.

What Does the Longshore Workers Compensation Act Protect?

The purpose of the Act is to provide employees who become disabled on the navigable waters of the United States, and/or in adjoining areas used to load, repair, and/or build vessels with compensation and medical assistance for their injuries.  These benefits include all medical, surgical, and hospital treatment, as well as other medical supplies and services, disability compensation during any periods of partial or full disability due to the work-related injury, permanent total and partial disability benefits, and temporary total and partial disability benefits.  Permanent partial disability for retired covered workers also may be available if a worker does not develop a work-related disease until after retiring.  Likewise, a worker who cannot return to his or her original job as a result of the injury can also under vocational rehabilitation through the Act.  Benefits for the dependents of such a worker are also available under the Act should a worker’s injuries lead to his or her death.  Therefore, if you are an employee covered by the Act as described above, and have suffered a work-related injury or developed a work-related disease, you should immediately contact your employer, as well as the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs, for assistance in filing a claim for compensation, which usually must be filed within one year of the date of the injury.

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