An oil rig accident attorney ensures that hardworking offshore employees are informed of their rights after an offshore injury. Offshore employees are the backbone of the oil and gas industry. Helping procure the essential elements that fuel transportation in the United States, offshore workers face many occupational dangers daily. At the risk of serious injury, offshore employees should understand the rights they have for when accidents occur.
Causes of an Offshore Oil Rig Accident
As the 2010 explosion on Deepwater Horizon demonstrated, employment on an oil rig is hazardous. An oil rig accident can be caused by a variety of dangerous situations, such as equipment failure, stormy weather, vessel collision, structure deterioration, human error, and more. Injuries that may result range from major to minor impairment, including broken limbs, brain, spine or back trauma and burns. Injuries cause by an oil rig accident can even be fatal. This is why it is vital for companies that operate offshore oil rig platforms to keep safety in mind.
Fortunately, not every drill rig accident is as extreme as the Deepwater Horizon. But an accident that injures an offshore employee can lead to prolonged recovery periods, expensive medical bills, and other unplanned hassles for them and their family. A drill rig accident can happen anytime, but many are found to have been preventable. If a company’s negligent management of operations led to your accident, they should be held accountable. A maritime lawyer will be able to help take your case to court and use their expertise to give you the best representation possible.
Our Louisiana drill rig accident lawyer, Brent Cueria, has decades of experience helping injured maritime employees get the compensation they deserve. We will use our expertise to your advantage. Investigating your accident to the fullest extent, Brent Cueria will be able to determine who exactly is responsible for the accident that led to your injury. Maritime law is on your side, and our naval attorney will make sure your company takes care of you and your family.
Safety For Oil Rig Workers
Employers have a legal obligation to provide a safe work environment for oil rig workers. The industry is very dangerous as employees are working offshore, out on open water. The employer must ensure that the environment is as safe as can be, with properly working equipment onsite, emergency materials, and trained employees so that the workday runs smoothly.
Below are a few examples of injuries that can occur and how oil rig employers may be responsible:
- Slip and Fall: One of the most common ways an oil rig accident can happen is due to a slip and fall. During drilling, the floors of the oil rig can become slippery with oil or even water depending on where you are working. Employees can slip and fall, injuring their back, knees, or other areas. Employers are required to take safety precautions such as using non-skid paint on surfaces, offering coco mats, having designated walkways, and taking other precautions to ensure the surfaces are not slippery.
- Derricks Not Maintained Properly: In the derrick, there will be work that needs to be completed. An employee in this area will typically have to pull a pipe in or out of the fingers located on the drilling rig. If the fingers are not properly maintained, the derrick hand will have to struggle when working the pipes. Ensuring that the machinery is properly maintained with regular maintenance checks and repairs will ensure derrick hands do not have any difficulty or become injured on the job.
- Drilling Slips: Employees who handle drilling slips can also be at risk of injury, particularly within the lower back area of the body. When there are not enough employees pulling the drilling slips, then the strain left on those working can cause injury. The drilling slip can also get hung up or caught during the pulling process which can also lead to injury.
Oil Rig Accident Impacts
In 2010, when BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded and sank, it left eleven employees missing and presumed dead while causing the largest oil spill the Gulf Coast has ever seen. While this is an extreme example of the dangers that maritime employees employed on a drill rig may face, it’s still a good one. Drill rigs are dangerous places to work and accidents occur often. Injuries, whether minor or major, can cause serious harm to a maritime employee and their family resulting in long recovery time, expensive medical bills, and unfortunately, even death.The resulting injuries from a drill rig accident can cause major issues for a maritime employee. While accidents can occur due to a multitude of issues, many incidents of injury could have been prevented if the company responsible had taken the correct safety precautions.
Let the Cueria Law Firm use their years of dedicated maritime experience to bring your drill rig accident case to court. Our maritime lawyer has the knowledge to analyze and determine what exactly led to your accident and who should be held accountable for your injuries. Working in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast area for over twenty years, the Cueria Law Firm will help you pursue the Jones Act benefits that are your right as a maritime employee and help you and your family recover.
Types of Offshore Drilling Vessels
If you work in the offshore drilling industry, you may find yourself aboard a variety of vessels. At the Cueria Law Firm, we feel it is important for employees of offshore drilling vessels to have a better understanding of the vessel types and how employers are to ensure each vessel is properly maintained and offer a safe working environment. With proper maintenance and employee training, an employer is placing their employees at risk for injury or even death. The industry is quite dangerous, and employees are putting themselves at risk as they go to work each day. Learn more about the vessel types below so that you can stay safe while working.
- Condeep Platforms: This platform is a base consisting of concrete oil storage tanks with a single or several concrete shafts moving upward. Most of the platform will sit on the seafloor. This type of platform is commonly used in deep water where weather conditions are heavy.
- Compliant Towers: This rig type is a flexible and slender tower that has a concrete pile foundation. The structure was created to withstand the significant lateral force and operate in water as deep as 2,990 feet.
- Fixed Platform: This type of platform will typically be anchored to the seafloor and will be used long-term. They are able to operate within a water depth of 1,710 feet or less.
- Drillships: This vessel is one that has a drill and often used for exploratory drilling or scientific means. The drill has the capability to operate up to 12,100 feet underwater.
- Spar Platform: Anchored to the seafloor, this platform will have mooring lines and use a counterbalance to remain stable. They are used in harsh conditions as the platform has more stability.
- Jackup Rigs: This type of rig was designed to have legs so that the platform can be raised above sea level. Once moved into place, the legs will keep the platform stable and anchored. This type of platform will operate in more shallow water from with a max depth of 390 feet or 560 feet.
The oil industry that operates in the Gulf of Mexico heavily relies on drill rigs to fulfill their oil production. Drill rig employees and offshore workers’ occupations encompass intricate tasks that involve a lot of hard work. These daily operations, while important, pose dangers to maritime employees that aren’t typical and these risks can result in serious injury. When it comes to oil and drill rig employment, workers are protected by the Jones Act, no matter their location of employment. This federal statute regulates the maritime industry and ensures maintenance and cure for offshore employees. If you or someone you love has been injured while working on an offshore oil rig, contact our Louisiana personal injury attorneys today. We can provide legal counsel and help you to file a claim for compensation based on your injuries.