Understanding USL&H


Understanding USL&H

USL&H refers to the United States Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, which provides benefits to maritime employees and other workers injured in covered areas. It is an integral part of marine insurance, compensating for injuries sustained while performing work-related duties.


The United States Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) is an important development that has significant benefits for maritime workers. It is a federal law that provides maritime employees compensation, medical care, and rehabilitation payment. 

The LHWCA mandates the compensation program, and most know it as “USL&H” (for “United States Longshore and Harbor Workers”). It is marine contractor insurance that covers workers injured while performing job-related duties on navigable waters of the U.S. It also covers those injured in adjoining locations where loading, unloading, repairing, and construct water vessels are common. 

Dependents of USL&H might receive survivor benefits if the policyholder dies due to work-related injuries. The policyholder’s self-insured employer or an insurance firm usually pays these benefits. “Injuries” in these cases encompasses occupational diseases, illnesses, and hearing loss resulting from employment-related duties.

Workers Covered by USL&H

USL&H covers employees of yacht clubs, longshore workers, marine manufacturers such as shipbuilders, repairers and breakers, and harbor construction workers. To be covered, the injuries incurred by the workers should have occurred on what is considered navigable waters of the U.S. or adjoining locations such as docks, piers, marinas, terminals, wharves, and other areas used for loading and unloading watercraft. 

USL&H may cover non-maritime workers if they suffer an injury while working on navigable waters and the other locations described above.

Extensions Under the LHWCA

Congress subsequently extended the LHWCA to encompass other employment types. The extensions provide other employees with the same benefits as covered employees, and any claims filed are processed similarly to claims applicable under the Longshore Act. The LHWCA extensions cover the following:

Defense Base Act (DBA): DBA covers employees that work for private contractors on U.S. military bases or properties utilized for military purposes outside the U.S. Likewise, it also covers workers employed by public work organizations contracted with any United States government agency. These agencies could include construction and service firms involved in national defense or war activities outside the U.S. 

Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA): OCSLA covers workers that are injured while working on the Outer Continental Shelf of the United States. Covered duties include exploration and development of natural resources, such as work on off-shore oil drilling rigs. 

Non-Appropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act (NAFIA): NAFIA covers civilian workers employed by non-appropriated fund organizations and departments of the United States Armed Forces. These typically include military base exchanges and facilities devoted to uplifting morale, providing recreation, and overseeing personnel welfare. 

About Merrimac Marine Insurance

At Merrimac Marine, we are dedicated to providing insurance for the marine industry to protect your clients’ business and assets. For more information about our products and programs, contact our specialists today at (800) 681-1998.