Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act is administered by the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) to protect injured, disabled, or diseased maritime employees. The program offers compensation and medical care to employees who suffer an injury – such as an OWCP back injury – or contract an occupational disease on the navigable waters of the United States or its adjoining areas. The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Program also covers workers involved in the loading, unloading, repairing, or building of a maritime vessel and offers benefits – through an insurance company or an OWCP-authorized employer – to dependents if an injury causes the employee’s death.

Who is Covered?

Employees covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act include:

  • Longshoreman
  • Harbor Workers
  • Ship-Repairman
  • Ship-Builder
  • Ship-Breaker

Employees who are not covered by the Longshore Harbor Workers’ Compensation Program include:

  • Employees of the United States, state, or foreign governments [If covered by a state workers’ compensation law]
  • Clerical workers, secretaries, security, or data processing work
  • Marina employees who are not engaged in construction, replacement, or expansion
  • Employees of recreational operations (such as clubs or camps), restaurant, museum, or retail outlet
  • Workers employed by vendors, suppliers, or transporters
  • Workers doing temporary business on a maritime employer’s premises
  • Agricultural workers
  • Small vessel (under 65 feet in length) workers – build, repair, or dismantle
  • A master or member of a vessel’s crew
  • Workers engaged by master to load, unload, or repair any small vessel (under 18 tons)

Medical Care Benefits

The Longshore Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act provides maritime employees who have suffered work-related injuries with medical, surgical, and hospital care. In addition, the cost of required travel or mileage is covered as well. Employees may select an OWCP-approved physician. The Act defines “physician” as a doctor, surgeon, chiropractor (for a work-related back injury), podiatrist, dentist, clinical psychologist, optometrist, and an osteopathic practitioner.

OWCP Back Injury Claims

Back injuries are one of the most frequent and often very traumatic injuries that a worker can experience. A back injury can range in severity from sprains, strains, and bulging to herniated disks. The OWCP’s Longshore Harbor Workers’ Compensation Program provides disability compensation for qualified workers. If you are interested in OWCP back injury claims, contact the Law Office or Robert W. Nizich. We can help you obtain the compensation to which you are entitled.

Disability Compensation

Disability provides injured workers wages for time lost. Compensation is payable for disabilities that are:

  • Temporary total or partial
  • Permanent total or partial

Death Benefits

The Longshore Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act provides death benefits to eligible survivors if a work-related injury causes an employees death. The program’s available benefits include:

  • “Reasonable” funeral expenses (not to exceed $3,000).
  • The widow or widower receives 50 percent of the deceased employee’s weekly wage (for life or until remarriage).
  • An additional 16 2/3 percent of the employee’s weekly wage is payable for children.
  • If children are the sole survivors, 50 percent of the employee’s weekly wage is paid. For additional children a 66 2/3 percent maximum is divided equally.

Other eligible survivors include parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, and grandchildren that are dependents of the deceased employee. When a widow or widower remarries, a lump sum payment is made (the equivalent of two years compensation). Payments to children, grandchildren, brothers, and sisters stop when they reach age 18 (may be extended to 23 if a student).

What to Do if You Are Injured

If you suffer a work-related injury covered by the Longshore Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, you should:

  • Immediately notify your employer. Obtain a Form LS-1 which authorizes treatment by a doctor of your choice.
  • Obtain medical treatment.
  • Provide employer notice (using Form LS-201) of your injury within 30 days.
  • File a written claim for compensation within one year.

If you have suffered an injury, or would like more information, contact Robert W. Nizich.