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(33 USC 901et. Seq.)

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act is administrated by the Office of Workers’ Compensation Program (OWCP) Employment Standards Administration, U.S. Department of Labor. The Act provides for compensation and medical care to workers injured in areas customarily used in loading, unloading, repairing, or building a vessel. The Act also offers benefits to dependents if the injury causes a worker’s death. The term “injury” includes an occupational disease arising out of employment.

  • The Act applies to EMPLOYERS of workers performing maritime work or in a maritime occupation, either full or part-time, on the navigable waters of the United States or in adjoining waterfront areas.
  • The Act applies to EMPLOYEES engaged in maritime work or in maritime occupations – including longshoremen or other persons in vessel loading operations, and any harbor worker, including ship-repairmen, ship-builders and ship-breakers.
  • OTHER EMPLOYEES – are covered similarly through the following Acts:
    • DEFENSE BASE ACT applies to employment by Federal government contractors outside the continental U.S., Alaska or Hawaii.
    • OUTER CONTINENTAL SHELF LANDS ACT applies to employees of private industry, conducting certain operations on the Outer Continental Shelf of the United States.
    • NONAPPROPRIATED FUND INSTRUMENTALITIES ACT, applying to civilian employees of non-appropriated fund instrumentalities (post exchanges, etc.) of the Armed Forces that are operated on military bases.

EXCLUDED from The Act are the following individuals if covered by a state workers’ compensation laws:

  • Individuals employed exclusively to perform office clerical, secretarial, security, or data processing work;
  • Individuals employed by a marina and who are not engaged in construction, replacement, or expansion of such marina (except for routine maintenance);
  • Individuals who (A) are employed by suppliers, transporters, or vendors, (B) are temporarily doing business on the premises of a maritime employer, and (C) are not engaged in work normally performed by employees of that employer covered under The Act;
  • Aquaculture workers;
  • Individuals employed to build, repair, or dismantle any recreational vessel under sixty-five feet in length; and,
  • Small vessel workers are exempt if the exemption is done by certification of the Secretary of Labor under certain conditions.

Also EXCLUDED are:

  • A master or member of a crew of any vessel (typically a ship’s crew is protected by the Jones Act);
  • Any person engaged by a master to load or unload or repair any small vessel under eighteen tons net; and,
  • Employees of the United States government or of any state or foreign government.

WLSC’s Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (The Act) practice is lead by partner James Armstrong, who developed the practice after retirement from the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve. Mr. Armstrong has litigated Jones Act claims of injured ship crewmembers. Mr. Armstrong co-authored the 1995 National Business Institute, Inc., Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation in Florida Practice Manual. Please contract James Armstrong for more information at 407-425-3232.

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