Explaining the United States Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act

Posted June 25 2015


maritime workersNobody wants to think about getting injured on the job, especially if that injury will keep you from being able to work. However, if you work in the maritime industry, there is a good chance that you may not have to worry about what will happen if you do experience an injury. Thanks to the United States Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA also known as USL&H), those who work in the maritime industry and fall into certain categories, will have coverage backed by the federal government, not just the state. Having a peace of mind when it comes to coverage can help rid your life of the question, “What’s going to happen to me if I’m injured at work?” 

 

The Mission 

There is one mission when it comes to the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, to assure the coverage and minimize the impact of injuries and death for employees and their families. This is done by ensuring that workers’ compensation benefits are provided under law. 

The Details 

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act provides workers’ compensation for anyone working in a marina or on the water. It protects you from injury and occupational disease while on the job. Benefits are only available to those maritime employees who meet certain criteria known as a “Status” and “Situs” test. 

Status Test- The Status Test has to do with the work that is performed by the employee. Basically the test decides whether you are performing “maritime” work. This is important because in order to be eligible for benefits under the act, it must be determined that employees are performing “maritime” work for the employer. 

Situs Test- The Situs Test has to do with the location that the employee has performed the work. After determining whether a worker is a maritime employee, they then have to determine if the work was performed on, near, or adjacent to navigable water. 

The Benefits 

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act gives employees to the power to file claims for injuries that happen while at the workplace. Much of workers’ comp is through state legislation, however being that this one is administered federally, you can have the option to use both your state’s system as well as the federal system, just not at the same time. The Federal Process is a lengthy one, but it’s good to know the coverage is there for when the employees need it. The state coverage can provide benefits while the federal reviews the benefits available under the USL&H laws. For those that are content with receiving benefits from the state, you should know that state workers’ comp benefits are 60% of wages, while the Longshore Act is 2/3 of your wages. Workers’ compensation insurance should be a top priority for all businesses. 

If you would like more information on workers’ comp or the LHWCA, or are interested in purchasing a workers’ comp policy, or any other form of business insurance, or group health insurance for your employees, please contact us at 954-828-1819 or visit us online at mhginsurance.com. Our insurance specialists have the knowledge and experience to cover your company’s risks appropriately. For more information on marine general liability, read our previous blog, “Why Do I Need Marine General Liability? I Have Commercial General Liability. Isn't That Enough?