Safety Through Implementation of a Marine Product Liability Program

The marine manufacturing industry involves many elements and individuals all performing particular tasks in order to ensure that the products they produce are safe and seaworthy. All work must be well executed and properly inspected, and the team must often work in adverse conditions in order to complete projects on time and within budget.

Whether working on a yacht or a large seafaring vessel, the activities taking place must be carefully planned and strategized, the goal being to complete the work in the fastest but safest way, because the trust of your client’s customers is at stake. One of the biggest challenges in this process is safety, whether we’re talking about the safety of the workers, or creating products that are safe from defects. Liability issues will always be a huge concern and your clients will need to have a marine product liability program that is structured to deal with these issues.

Manufacturing and design defects are a primary concern

Manufacturing defects are those that occur in the manufacturing process and usually involve poor-quality materials or shoddy workmanship. Design defects occur where the product design is inherently dangerous or useless (and hence considered “defective”) no matter how carefully they may have been manufactured. This may be demonstrated either by showing that the product fails to satisfy ordinary consumer expectations as to what constitutes a safe product, or that the risks of the product outweigh its benefits. Ultimately, the manufacturer is liable if the product is defective, even if the manufacturer was not negligent in making that product defective.

Many hazards and risks can often be eliminated or controlled in the product design phase. When designing products for tankers and other large vessels, a safety review should take into account how a product will be used and the kind of hazards that may result from its use. Products should comply with all industry and government safety standards. Labels, warnings and instructions should adhere to these standards and be prominently displayed, as well as easy to understand and be provided where applicable. A regularly scheduled safety review can help to confirm that products comply with the latest standards currently in place.

Poor workmanship in this industry could ultimately cost lives. A marine product liability program is meant to deal with these serious issues and provide solutions to problems often before they occur.