Working offshore is dangerous, but industries such as offshore oil drilling are a crucial part of the economy. Employees at offshore platforms face dangers from elements such as sea storms, high winds, and harsh climates, and the facilities themselves present several inherent dangers. Offshore oil rigs and any other type of offshore industrial facility need consistent safety inspections, and the staff must be thoroughly trained. They also require reliable mainland support.
When an employee is injured at an offshore facility, he or she falls outside of state law (in most cases). It may be difficult to determine the proper route to take toward obtaining compensation for an injury caused by negligence. One of the measures of protection afforded to injured offshore workers is the Jones Act, which allows any injured offshore employee to file claims against any negligent individuals who may have contributed to or caused his or her injury. The Jones Act extends to anyone working on mobile sites such as drilling ships, support vessels, or jack-up oil rigs.
Employees of stationary facilities are covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. Depending on where the site of the accident is geographically situated, an injured employee may be able to collect worker’s compensation or funds through this provision.
TYPES OF OFFSHORE INJURIES
The ways in which a worker can become injured working offshore are countless. A few of the most common examples include:
- Exposure from harsh weather, including direct sunlight, high winds, and harsh temperatures.
- Slips and falls, which can lead to broken bones, spinal injuries, head injuries, lacerations, and other impact-related damage.
- Impacts from falling objects, which can sometimes kill outright if the object is heavy enough and falls from a great enough height. Injuries caused by falling objects are often responsible for head trauma.
- Heavy equipment injuries. The various types of heavy machinery and specialized tools one will encounter at many offshore facilities can cause broken bones, serious spinal and head injuries, crushing injuries, and more.
- Falling overboard. Falling from great heights into the sea can result in serious injury, and if the sea is still enough, it can be fatal.
- Explosions and fires. Any type of fire aboard an offshore facility is extremely dangerous, and explosions and fires can cause injuries from concussive blasts, serious burns, and other traumatic injuries.
- Toxic exposure and fume inhalation, which can lead to respiratory complications and permanent damage. In some cases, inhaling toxic fumes can harm the brain.
This is not an exhaustive list. Not only do offshore workers face many more hazards than employees on land, but they are also typically several hours away from the nearest first medical responders should an emergency arise.
RETAIN RELIABLE LEGAL COUNSEL
If you or a loved one has been injured offshore, it is vital to know and understand your legal options—especially if you are facing lost wages from time away from work, growing medical expenses, and possible permanent disability and lost earning capacity. Navigating legal claims surrounding offshore injuries can be difficult, so you need legal representation you can trust.
The Nielsen Law Firm of Houston, Texas, has over 30 years of experience trying cases, and we know how complex an offshore injury case can be. Our job is to take the guesswork out of the equation and help you recover medical expenses, the costs of any ongoing treatments, lost wages, and diminished earning capacity. If your injury was caused by the negligence or irresponsible actions of another individual or entity, we will hold the wrongful party accountable for the damage caused. Reach out to our team for more information or to start a free case evaluation today.