Both State Workers’ Compensation and the Longshore Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act are nontort and are not subject to the laws of negligence. The employer is simply responsible for accidents that occur during normal operations.
USL&H is a federal act (sometimes referred to as the Longshore Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act – LHWCA) designed to provide compensation to an employee if an injury or death occurs upon navigable waters of the US – including any adjoining pier, wharf,dock, or other adjoining area.
This law has extreme ramifications for companies who have “incidental USL&H” exposure – marine, dock and seawall contractors whose work is on canals and waters leading into “navigable water” – such as the Intracoastal waterway – and on to the Atlantic.
Unlike State Workers’ compensation, which is regulated, Longshore claims fall under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Labor. Longshore claims can have a higher benefits schedule, more severe penalties and legal ramifications for noncompliance.
State Act Workers’ Compensation plans DO NOT cover these type employees whether State comp plans have been excluded from your operation or not. If you hire a contractor for work along your waterway and they do not carry USL&H you are responsible State Worker’s comp will NOT cover these employees. You should check NOW to make sure you’re covered. The cheapest bid could become YOUR biggest liability.