The oil and gas industries offer incredible economic opportunities for those workers who are willing to take on the challenging and exhaustive work of offshore drilling. Offshore oil rigs involve grueling schedules and hazardous conditions in return for high pay. As an oil and gas worker, you make many personal sacrifices to continue this work, sometimes at the expense of family and your social life. When an accident occurs, the injuries produced can be catastrophic for these workers.
The long-term consequences of injuries
The US economy relies on oil and gas to continue regardless of what’s going on nationally. This pressure for maintaining production standards can occasionally lead to hazardous conditions for the workers who bolster that industry. Accidents on an oil rig can include crushing and falling injuries, burns from fire and chemical exposure, broken bones, tissue damage, traumatic brain injury, and back injuries. When an injury threatens your ability to make money, it is important to be aware of your rights:
- The Jones Act: Offshore drilling equipment and oil rigs that are not fixed and stationary with relation to the seabed may qualify as a ‘vessel’ under the Jones Act. The Jones Act provides a legal framework for seamen to bring a lawsuit against their employer for damages caused by negligence.
- The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA): For those oil and gas industry workers whose jobs take place on fixed offshore drilling platforms (as well as the construction workers that perform maintenance on these facilities) may pursue injury compensation through the LHWCA.
- The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act: This expands the rights provided under the LHWCA to those working in the exploration and extraction of natural resources.
- The Oil Pollution Act (OPA): For injuries caused by oil spills and refinery/rig accident, the OPA could be a route for injury compensation in those scenarios.
Protecting the rights of oil and gas industry workers
If you suffered a catastrophic injury while working on an offshore oil and gas facility/vessel, you need to contact a lawyer with experience in maritime law to guide you through this complicated legal field.