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Longshore and harbor workers

Longshore and harbor workers are not automatically covered under your standard workers' comp policy. SAIF only provides coverage under the U. S. Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA) if we receive and accept a written request for the coverage and provide an endorsement for your policy.

Longshore and Harbor Workers' Act

The U.S. Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA) provides workers' comp benefits to workers (other than crew members of a vessel) injured on or upon the navigable waters of the United States or on "any adjoining pier, wharf, dry dock, terminal, building way, marine railway, or other adjoining area customarily used by an employer in loading, unloading, repairing, or building a vessel."

Workers covered under the Act meet two guidelines that have been established though various court decisions: status and situs. Both status and situs must be met for the worker to have coverage under the Act.

The Act is administered by the U.S. Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, part of the U.S. Department of Labor, and does not apply to employees of the federal government or any state government or their political subdivisions.

What are status and situs?

Status requires employment related to shipbuilding, repair, breaking, loading, or unloading, or other employment that is integral to the completion of these activities.

Situs requires an injury on navigable waters, a pier, wharf, dry dock, terminal, building way, marine railway, or an adjoining area customarily used by the employer in loading, unloading, repairing, or building a vessel.

Status and situs are determined on a case-by-case basis.

An employee who interchanges between status and nonstatus duties remains uniformly subject to the Act while working at a particular situs location.

Special circumstances

On jobs subject to the LHWCA, the prime contractor is responsible for both the subcontractor and the subcontractor's employees, unless the subcontractor provides his or her own policy with an LHWCA endorsement.

Special rules may apply to coverage of business owners. Please contact your agent or SAIF representative for information specific to your business.

Who is not included under the Act

Under amendments made in 1984, the Act exempts the following workers if covered by state workers' comp laws:

  • Office clerical, secretarial, security, or data processing workers 
  • Club, camp, recreational operation, museum, and retail outlet employees 
  • Marina employees not engaged in marine construction, replacement, or expansion 
  • Employees of vendors, transporters, and suppliers temporarily on a covered site and not engaged in work normally done by the covered employer 
  • Aquaculture employees 
  • Individuals building any recreational vessel under 65 feet, or individuals repairing any recreational vessel or dismantling it in connection with its repair
  • Employees at a specially-certified facility who are building, repairing, or dismantling certain small commercial vessels, under certain conditions 
  • Master or member of a crew of any vessel 
  • Any person engaged by a master to load or unload or repair any small vessel under 18 tons net

Contact your agent or email us if you have any questions about reporting payroll or filing a claim for a worker covered under the Act.