Offshore workers in Louisiana employed in the drilling fields may face serious injury risks when transferring from one rig or vessel to another. Over the years, offshore workers used a swing rope to move between vessels over the open water. However, the risks involved may be obvious: swinging on a rope over open water with large vessels and active drilling can lead to severe injuries or even death in case of an accident. As a result, a growing number of offshore drilling companies use a Billy Pugh basket to transfer workers from crew boats to rigs or from one ship to another.
Billy Pughs still pose serious risks
Billy Pughs have some benefits that present greater safety protections than the classic swing rope. However, workers continue to face on-the-job injuries caused by both forms of transfer. Oil companies are well aware of the serious risks, yet many fail to provide meaningful protections. As a result, workers continue to face potential injuries at sea on a daily basis.
Failure to maintain and train can be deadly
Transfers over rough seas pose the most serious risks, especially when the Billy Pughs are poorly maintained. Some transfer baskets may be defective, but others become dangerous over the years when companies fail to keep them in good shape. Other companies set workers to use a transfer basket without providing training or safety gear. Poorly maintained baskets, especially when in the hands of untrained operators, can rupture or crash, leading to broken bones, falls into rough seas or collisions with other vessels or rigs.
Transfer basket injuries can lead to serious damages, from broken bones and organ damage to fatalities. Someone injured in a Billy Pugh accident may be unable to work for some time or even permanently. This means losing out on wages and a growing income. If you’ve been injured while working offshore, an attorney could explain your rights under the Jones Act.