Those who make their living offshore jobs know that oil rig jobs are dangerous. They also know that what makes oil rig jobs dangerous is the type of serious and life-threatening accidents that can occur during the course of their work.
With the constant proximity of highly combustible materials, slippery decks, heavy equipment, it’s no surprise that the work environment of an oil rig is one that’s replete with hazards. However, with the proper care and attention of manufacturers and maritime employers, many oil rig accidents are avoidable. It’s when proper care is not taken and results in a serious injury or deadly accident that seamen may wish to enlist the help of an oil rig accident lawyer or offshore accident attorney in Houston.
Top oil rig accident law firm Mithoff Law describes the types of oil rig accidents that can occur at sea and outlines the potential benefits of retaining a law firm should you choose to file an oil rig accident claim.
Oil rig accidents, jack-up rig accidents, and your rights
According to federal law, employees are entitled to work in a safe workplace and under conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm, regardless of location. Nevertheless, if you work on an oil rig or jack-up rig, then you’re working one of the most dangerous jobs out there (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics). The number of oil rig deaths per year often exceeds 100 people, with even more individuals suffering from injuries.
We are about to discuss the types of accidents that can cause these injuries. For some types of accidents, we will provide an example of a claim brought by a client of Mithoff Law for context.
If you happened upon this article before an accident occurred but are concerned that your workplace or employers are not following the safety standards and laws set out by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), know that you have the right to reach out to OSHA and request an inspection without fear of retaliation.
According to OSHA’s IMIS Database, “three of every five on-site fatalities in the oil and gas extraction industry are the result of struck-by/caught-in/caught-between hazards.” These accidents are more likely to occur when working under suspended loads, around unguarded equipment or moving parts of equipment, or when working with pipes, casing, tongs, elevators, and spinning chains.
Another top reason why oil rig jobs are dangerous is the frequency with which falls occur. Falls tend to be the result of slips due to water or oil on the deck/equipment, tripping over equipment or holes, a lack of proper guardrails, improper ladder use, and more. Proper training, the use of anti-skid deck plating, the installation of siding and guardrails, and the use of safety nets and personal fall arrest systems (PFAS) all offer either fall prevention or fall protection.
Mithoff Law represented a worker who sustained severe shoulder injuries when he fell aboard a service vessel that was supporting an offshore pipeline project in the Persian Gulf. The plaintiff alleged that the vessel had inadequate anti-skid deck plating in the area where the injury occurred. The case was settled for a confidential amount.
Issues with electrocution and other energy hazards are also common onboard oil rigs. These issues may arise from damaged extension cords or extension cords without grounding prongs, inadequate service to electronics and electrical equipment, and failure to follow procedure for the lockout/tagout (LOTO) and re-energizing of equipment.
As is evinced by the terrible repercussions of Deepwater Horizon, explosions on offshore drilling rigs are often deadly. Since oil rigs frequently carry highly combustible materials, it’s essential to the safety of oil rig workers that maritime employers take all precautionary regulations seriously. Explosions are known to occur when fuel is improperly contained, when the oil rig is struck by a vessel or otherwise distrubed, etc.
Cranes and other heavy equipment
Struck-by/caught-in/caught-between accidents and heavy equipment accidents often go hand in hand. Perhaps the most notorious type of heavy equipment for causing injuries is the crane. Cranes can carry extremely heavy loads, which can make them very dangerous if they are being operated by someone with improper training or if they have not received regular maintenance. The most common types of accidents involve operator error and mechanical error, but accidents involving tipping, overloading, and accidents that occur during driving also occur.
Helicopter accidents might not be the first type of accident you think of when discussing why oil rig jobs are dangerous. But before beginning work on an oil rig, oil rig employees must first travel to the oil rig, and one of the most common means of making this trip is via helicopter. Helicopter accidents are frequently deadly, meaning that this type of case tends to combine several areas of personal injury law — oil rig accidents, helicopter accidents, and wrongful death.
Mithoff Law represented surviving family members of offshore rig personnel who died when the helicopter transferring them from a base on land to an offshore rig crashed. The plaintiffs alleged that there were design defects in the helicopter’s control systems. The case settled for a confidential amount.
Issues with protective equipment, training, and more…
Oil rig jobs can involve everything from excavation to welding to the handling of dangerous chemicals… and all out at sea, where workers may also be exposed to extreme weather conditions. In order to stay as safe as possible, oil rig employees need proper training, proper equipment, and competent coworkers. Proving that these have not been provided can be extremely difficult.
Mithoff Law knows what makes oil rig jobs dangerous and how to help those affected by these dangerous conditions
Oil rig jobs are dangerous, but that doesn’t mean that those injured on the job should be left to fend for themselves. Oil rig accidents can result in burn injuries, amputations, and many other types of injuries. A lawyer can help their oil rig clients seek damages as they recover.
At Mithoff Law, we have decades of experience navigating complicated laws that govern personal injury claims involving oil rigs and fixed platforms. Once retained, we work alongside subject-matter experts to assess your claim and determine your options. Where possible, we assist in the gathering and preservation of evidence to help build your case.
Speak to an experienced oil rig accident lawyer at Mithoff Law today. Call 713-654-1122 to get your case off to the right start.
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