In 2018, the oil and gas rig industry employed over 140,000 people. The oil industry certainly pays well, but the high pay doesn’t come without risk. In any occupation, work injuries can occur. In the oil industry, severe work conditions can quickly turn everyday work into a life-changing or fatal occurrence.
Several factors make working in the oil rig industry dangerous. If your injury happened at work, you might be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Consult an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to ensure your claim is successful, and you receive the benefits you deserve.
Common Oil Rig Platform Accidents
The CDC reported that between 2003-2010, oil rig workers were seven times more likely to receive a fatal, work-related injury than workers in any other field. From health code violations to unpredictable weather conditions, injuries can happen under many circumstances.
Oil rig workers often rely on transportation by helicopter or watercraft to access the platforms. Transport accounts for 51% of accidents on the oil rig, making it the leading cause of injury or fatality in the industry. Mechanical issues with the vehicle or strong winds and rain can increase the risk of injury or death.
Due to worker negligence or uninspected equipment, the machinery they use daily can injure oil workers. Sometimes, workers trap a body part between pieces of equipment. Inadequate training of staff can also increase the rate of injuries from machinery.
Fires and Explosions
Working with flammable substances always creates a risk, but fire is much more deadly on an oil platform. Fires can result from welding, electrical work, and environmental conditions. Explosions are far less common, but a small leak can cause a big disaster.
Exposure to Harmful Chemicals and Environments
Oil rig workers encounter many substances during their work, like hydrogen sulfide, drilling oils, and other chemicals. Ingesting or directly touching these substances can be painful. When there’s a chemical leak, workers aren’t the only casualties. The leak contaminates the surrounding water and sea creatures.
Slipping and Falling
The oil industry cannot pause for bad weather. To prevent accidents, workers must continuously clean floors and inspect surfaces daily. Even if the company follows all health and safety standards, workers can still fall from slippery surfaces and injure themselves.
Oil rig workers often work twelve-hour shifts, at a minimum. This long, physically demanding work increases the risk of injury.
Most Common Injuries
According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA), 1,275 injuries occurred in the Gulf of Mexico from 2012 to 2017. This statistic only includes injuries that workers were evacuated for and had to miss at least one day of work.
The most common injuries on an oil rig platform include:
• Broken bones or lost limbs
• Burns and lacerations
• Internal organ damage
• Respiratory failure
• Head trauma
• Spinal trauma
The injuries can range in severity and their effect on a worker’s lifestyle. Some injuries impact their earnings or leave them with a permanent, life-altering condition, changing an oil rig worker’s life forever.
How to Receive Compensation
The oil rig industry can be a risky job. However, workers can receive compensation if they are injured, and their families can receive compensation if their work results in their death.
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) includes workers’ compensation legislation and protects oil rig workers injured on the oil platform. The LHWCA allows for disability benefits, medical expenses, rehabilitation coverage, and if needed, death benefits.
However, dealing with paperwork and legal matters can be challenging while recovering from a serious injury. An experienced lawyer can streamline the process and allow you to rest and recover.
Arrange a Free Consultation
Accidents happen. No matter how many safety precautions an oil rig worker takes, they can still get injured on the job from others’ negligence. We are here to help when the unthinkable and the undesirable happens to you.
If your injury occurred while working on an oil rig platform or any other offshore injury, call Lamothe Law Firm to schedule a free consultation today.