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What is the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act?

On Behalf of | Mar 25, 2024 | Jones Act

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) is a little-known federal law that protects Rhode Island workers who are injured in the course of their employment in navigable waters. it also provides death benefits to dependents in the event that the worker’s injury is fatal. It is somewhat similar in scope to state workers’ compensation programs, but there are some differences.

Who this act protects

The LHWCA is an admiralty law that covers employees such as longshore workers, shipbuilders, ship-repairers, ship-breakers, and harbor construction workers who sustain injuries. The events must occur on navigable waters of the United States or in adjoining areas. Common locations where maritime injuries occur include docks, piers, terminals, wharves, and other areas used for loading and unloading. Non-maritime employees may also receive coverage if their injuries occur on navigable waters. A self-insured employer or a private insurance company typically pays for benefits that fall under this category.

Understanding the Longshore Act Extension

Other types of employment may also qualify for compensation under the Act. Those who work for private employers on military bases or private lands used for military purposes are covered, along with those who work on public contracts with any U.S. government agency. Several other scenarios also apply, including work on contracts approved and funded by the United States under the Foreign Assistance Act.

Who is not covered by the LHWCA?

There are some specific exclusions that are contained in the Act itself. These include workers whose injuries were caused solely because they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol as well as those who are employees of the federal government.