Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act
Workers' Compensation under the Longshore Act
Our law office does not accept nor handle cases
which are exclusively under the Longshore and Harbor Workers'
Compensation Act. However, the Act does sometimes provide one
of several remedies available in the maritime cases that we
do handle. The general information provided here is for those
who wish to obtain further information about such claims.
This is a summary of Longshore Act provisions from a pamphlet
issued by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment Standards
Administration, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (Revised
August 1987). It may be out of date and/or contain other
inaccuracies- so checking with a licensed attorney familiar
with the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act
is essential to get up-to-date and accurate information.
Purpose of the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (33
USC 901 et. seq.):
This Act, administered by the Office of Workers' Compensation
Programs (OWCP) Employment Standards Administration, U.S.
Department of Labor, offers compensation and medical care to
employees disabled from injuries that occur on the navigable
waters of the United States, or in adjoining areas customarily
used in loading, unloading, repairing, or building a vessel. The
Act also offers benefits to dependents if the injury causes the
employee's death. These benefits are paid by an insurance
company or by an employer who is authorized by the OWCP to be
self-insured. The term "injury" includes occupational disease
arising out of employment.
The Act Covers:
EMPLOYERS who employ workers in a maritime occupation, either
full or part-time, on the navigable waters of the United States
or in an adjoining area customarily used by an employer in
loading, unloading, repairing, or building a vessel.
EMPLOYEES in a maritime occupation - including a longshoreman or
other person in longshoring operations, and any harbor worker,
including a ship repairman, shipbuilder, and shipbreaker.
OTHER EMPLOYEES are covered similarly through the following Acts:
DEFENSE BASE ACT, applying to employment by Federal contractors
outside the continental U.S., Alaska or Hawaii.
OUTER CONTINENTAL SHELF LANDS ACT, applying to employees of
private industry, conducting certain operations on the Outer
Continental Shelf of the United States.
NONAPPROPRIATED FUND INSTRUMENTALITIES ACT, applying to civilian
employees of nonappropriated fund instrumentalities (post
exchanges, etc.) of the Armed Forces.
EXCLUDED by the Longshore Act are the following individuals if
covered by a state workers' compensation law:
Individuals employed exclusively to perform office clerical,
secretarial, security, or data processing work;
Individuals employed by a club, camp, recreational operation,
restaurant, museum, or retail outlet;
Individuals employed by a marina and who are not engaged in
construction, replacement, or expansion of such marina (except
for routine maintenance);
Individuals who (A) are employed by suppliers, transporters, or
vendors, (B) are temporarily doing business on the premises of a
maritime employer, and (C) are not engaged in work normally
performed by employees of that employer covered under this Act;
Individuals employed to build, repair, or dismantle any
recreational vessel under sixty-five feet in length;
Small vessel workers if exempt by certification of the Secretary
under certain conditions.
EXCLUDED also are:
A master or member of a crew of any vessel; or
Any person engaged by a master to load or unload or repair any
small vessel under eighteen tons net.
MEDICAL CARE - Includes all medical, surgical, and hospital
treatment and other medical supplies and services required by the
employment related injury.
The employee may obtain medical treatment from a physician of his
or her choice, as designated by the OWCP. The term "physician"
includes doctors of medicine (MD), surgeons, podiatrists,
dentists, clinical psychologists, optometrists, and osteopathic
practitioners within the scope of their practice as defined by
State law. Chiropractors are also included to the extent that
their treatment consists of manual manipulation of the spine to
correct subluxation (dislocation).
An employee may not choose a physician who is currently not
authorized by the Department of Labor to render medical care
under the Act. The list of physicians not authorized is
available from the local OWCP district office.
DISABILITY COMPENSATION -
Compensation is paid every two weeks during an employee's total
disability because of a work-related injury.
Compensation is paid at a lesser rate if the employee is only
partially disabled for his regular work.
Disability means inability to earn the same wages earned at the
time of injury. Compensation is payable for disabilities that
are permanent total, temporary total, permanent partial, or
PERMANENT TOTAL AND TEMPORARY TOTAL DISABILITY - Compensation is
two-thirds of the employee's average weekly wage, subject to a
maximum amount. The maximum rate payable for temporary total
disability changes each October 1, based on the current national
average weekly wage for the affected period. Compensation for
permanent total disability is adjusted each October 1, based on
the percentage change in the national average weekly wage from
the previous year, subject to a maximum adjustment of 5%.
PERMANENT PARTIAL DISABILITY - Compensation is payable for the
permanent loss or loss of use of certain members or functions of
the body, such as the loss of the arm, hand, fingers, leg, foot,
toes, hearing and vision. Compensation is payable for a certain
number of weeks for each type of disability as specified in the
Act. For example, total loss of use of a foot entitles the
employee to 205 weeks of compensation.
TEMPORARY PARTIAL AND NONSCHEDULED PERMANENT PARTIAL DISABILITY -
Compensation is two-thirds of the employee's weekly wage loss or
loss of wage-earning capacity.
REHABILITATION SERVICES - Medical rehabilitation may include
exercise and muscle conditioning to help restore the employee to
Vocational rehabilitation may include evaluation, testing,
counseling, selective placement, and retraining, if the employee
is injured and cannot return to the former job. Rehabilitation
services may include the cost of tuition, books and supplies, and
provide a maintenance allowance during retraining.
DEATH BENEFITS are paid to a widow or widower or other eligible
survivors if the injury causes the employee's death. Reasonable
funeral expenses are paid, up to a maximum of $3,000.00.
The widow or widower receives 50% of the average weekly wage of
the deceased employee for life or until remarriage. Additional
compensation is payable - 16-2/3% of the employee's average
weekly wage - for one or more children.
If children are the sole survivors, 50% of the employee's average
weekly wage is paid on behalf of the first child. Where more
than one child is entitled to benefits, a maximum of 66-2/3%
applies, shared equally.
OTHER ELIGIBLE SURVIVORS - parents, brothers, sisters,
grandparents and grandchildren who were dependent on the
Upon remarriage, a widow or widower receives a lump sum payment
of compensation covering two years. Benefit payments to
children, brothers, sisters, and grandchildren terminate when
they reach 18, but may be extended to age 23 if the child or
beneficiary is a student. Payments may continue indefinitely if
a child remains incapable of self support due to a mental or
The total amount of compensation may not exceed two-thirds of the
employee's wage. In computing death benefits, the average weekly
wage of the deceased shall be considered to have been not less
than the national average weekly wage effective at the time of
the employee's death. The total weekly benefits, however, may
not exceed the average weekly wage of the deceased or 200% of the
national average weekly wage, whichever is lesser.
Maximum and Minimum Payments:
DISABILITY - compensation payable under the Act may not exceed
200% of the national average weekly wage, applicable at the time
of injury, or the employee's full average weekly wage, whichever
Waiting Period and Beginning of Compensation:
NO COMPENSATION - is allowed for the first three days of
disability unless disability lasts longer than fourteen days. In
such cases compensation is paid from the first day of wage loss.
The first installment of compensation is due 14 days after the
employee stops work, or as directed by the OWCP.
The OWCP will help claimants prepare claims, explain benefits and
proceedings under the Act, and will advise about medical,
manpower and vocational rehabilitation services.
District Offices in the OWCP are located in Boston, New York,
Philadelphia, Baltimore, Norfolk, Jacksonville, New Orleans,
Houston, Chicago, San Francisco, Long Beach, Seattle, and
Honolulu. Office addresses can be supplied by the employer or
the compensation insurance carrier.
What To Do If You Are Injured:
1. NOTIFY your employer immediately and ask for a Form LS-1,
which authorizes treatment by a doctor of your choice.
2. OBTAIN medical treatment as soon as possible.
3. GIVE written notice of your injury within 30 days to your
employer on Form LS-201. Notice of death must also be given
within 30 days. Additional time is provided for certain hearing
loss and occupational disease claims. Contact your nearest OWCP
district office for additional information regarding these types
4. FILE a written claim for compensation within one year after
injury if full compensation and medical care have not been
provided. A claim must also be filed within one year after
death. The time for filing claims in certain occupational
disease cases has been extended to two years.
If you need additional information about your rights under this
law, contact an office listed in the telephone directory under
the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Workers' Compensation
For further information, please contact:
U.S. Department of Labor
Employment Standards Administration
Office of Workers' Compensation Programs
Washington, D.C. 20210