Who Is Covered By The Longshore And Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act?}

Who is Covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act?


John Bradley

The LHWCA covers workers employed in traditional maritime activities including longshoring operations, harbor work, stevedoring, loading and offloading of vessels or products transported by vessels, ship repair, ship construction, general maritime construction. Special categories of workers are specifically excluded among these are: the master or member of a crew of any vessel; persons involved in the loading/unloading/repair of any small vessel under eighteen tons net; U.S. government employees; clerical, secretarial, security, data processing staff; marina employees not engaged in construction or expansion of the marine; and persons temporarily working on the premises of a maritime employer who are not engaged in work normally covered under the act.

Longshore Harborworker Negligence

If a worker is injured due to an unsafe condition on a vessel to which he is assigned, or due to the negligence on the part of that vessel, the worker may bring a negligence action under Section 905(b) of the Longshore Harbor Worker Compensation Act. Furthermore, the Longshore Harbor Worker Compensation Act employer shall not be held liable to the vessel for claims pursued by an injured employee. Longshore Harbor Worker Compensation Act employers have a right of subrogation for amounts paid to the injured worker to satisfy the employer’s duty.Section 905(c) outlines an exception to the prohibition against indemnity agreements between Longshore Harbor Worker Compensation Act employers and vessels.


It does not void certain indemnity contracts between Longshore Harbor Worker Compensation Act employers and vessels operating on the Outer Continental Shelf Section 905(c) provision applies to employers whose employees are entitled to benefits under the Longshore Harbor Worker Compensation Act pursuant to the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA”). The provision is a reciprocal indemnity provision of a knock for knock agreement. Basically in this scenario, the employer and the vessel owner each agree to pay for claims against the other brought by their respective employees. In this event, the employee, working on the Outer Continental Shelf, who is injured on a vessel that has an indemnity agreement with the Longshore Harbor Worker Compensation Act employer, has no real chance for recovery against the vessel for its negligence in causing injury to the worker because the employer is ultimately paying the injury claim.

In addition to the 905(b) negligence claim against vessels for injuries sustained by workers covered under the Longshore Harbor Worker Compensation Act, the injured employee may also bring a claim against a responsible non-vessel third party in tort for damages arising from the injury. However, in the case of non-vessel owners, injured workers may run into situations where the Longshore Harbor Worker Compensation Act employer has contractually agreed to indemnify the non-vessel party for any claims asserted by a maritime employee.


In a longshore claim, disability means an inability to earn pre-injury wages. Injured workers may receive compensation in four categories of disabilities. These are permanent total disability, temporary total disability, permanent partial disability, and temporary partial disability. Benefits are paid every two weeks and are based on a percentage of the injured employee’s pre-injury average weekly wage. The weekly payment amounts are adjusted annually on October 1st, based on the national average weekly wage.

Benefits for temporary partial disability is paid at a rate of two-thirds the weekly wage loss, based on loss of earning capacity. Permanent partial disability payments are intended to compensate the injured employee for the permanent loss of a body part or bodily function. The compensation for such a loss is based on a pay out schedule specified in the Longshore Act. The schedule assigns a certain number of weeks of compensation the injured employee may receive for the compensable loss.

The Longshore Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act is a federally administered program providing wage compensation and medical benefits to individuals who sustained injury or contracted an occupational disease while employed on a navigable waterway or the adjoining areas that are primarily involved in the loading, unloading, repairing or building of a vessel. In the event of death, the LHWCA provides for compensation benefits to be paid to the employee’s dependents.

No matter where you live, the maritime lawyers and maritime attorneys at the Ogletree Abbott Law Firm are here to provide you with the help you need. If you would like, a Jones Act lawyer or a Jones Act attorney will speak with you with no obligation, free of charge. Call us toll free at 1-800-Jones-Act (1-800-566-3722), or email us at Don’t wait, call today and speak with our

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