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What are the biggest risk factors for offshore oil workers?

| Jun 29, 2020 | Maritime Law |

It is essentially common knowledge that oil and gas workers have increased the risk for workplace injuries or deaths when compared with the average employee in the United States. Offshore oil and gas rig workers may be at even higher risk when compared with those working in oil or gas facilities on land.

There is a broad range of risk factors, some of which are worse because of the location of offshore oil rigs. The better you understand these risk factors, the easier it will be for you to identify what kind of compensation you can pursue, such as compensation under the Jones Act so, if your employer failed to maintain adequately safe facilities.

General oil and gas risks you should know

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the top serious risk factors for oil and gas workers include vehicle collisions, caught-in or caught-between incidents, explosions and fires, falls, getting trapped in confined spaces, ergonomic hazards, highpressure equipment and lines, electrical hazards and heavy machinery.

Some of these risks can easily become more significant due to improperly maintained equipment, inadequately trained staff or other forms of employer negligence. Negligence and failure to maintain the facilities and equipment could lead to the potential for a Jones Act claim by injured offshore workers.

Offshore workers have increased risk because of their location

Although it is common for large drilling sites to have supplies and even medical spaces available, in the event of some kind of catastrophic problem, those facilities may not be adequate or even accessible. Help from the mainland can take some time to arrive, which could mean worsening symptoms and prognosis for those with traumatic injuries.

Additionally, workers could find themselves stranded and at risk of drowning if they fall into the water either while wearing heavy gear or if they lose consciousness because of an explosion or a fall. Many of the worst oil and gas accidents would be preventable if employers took adequate steps to keep their workers and facilities safe.

Extra steps to ensure worker protection are often critical. After all, those working offshore won’t have the same financial protections, like workers’ compensation, that their counterparts on land benefit from. Instead, they will have to bring a claim against their employer directly to recoup lost wages and medical expenses after an offshore drilling career results in a serious injury.