Basket Transfer Injuries

A common piece of equipment used on oil drilling and offshore exploration platforms is a specialized pod known as “personnel baskets” or “Billy Pugh” baskets. This piece of equipment is used to transport employees to and from their work platforms. Because of the complexity of the equipment and the conditions in which basket transfers are performed, workers being transported this way often may be injured. If this has happened to you or a loved one, the maritime accident lawyers at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. can explain your options for seeking compensation.

Injuries Incurred During Basket Transfer Operations

When a basket transfer is performed incorrectly or when the basket mechanism is not in safe, working order, it can lead to accidents that cause mild to severe injuries to workers. These injuries can include:

  • Amputated limbs
  • Mild, moderate, or severe traumatic brain injuries that leave the worker disabled, paralyzed or in a coma
  • Back or spinal cord injuries
  • Partial or complete paralysis
  • Torn ligaments
  • Death

When a transfer basket inadvertently collides with another object or stationary structure, it can swing wildly, suffer severe impacts or fall into an unsafe area. The accident may not only hurt the workers who are being transferred, but it can also hurt workers who already on board a ship, oceangoing vessel, or oil and gas platform. Workers in these conditions can be trapped, struck, crushed, or knocked off the vessel by an inbound personnel basket.

Causes of Personnel Basket Accidents

A number of factors can lead to basket transfer injuries. Poor weather conditions are a contributing factor as the baskets can be heavily buffered by rain, high winds, and rough seas. Another factor in basket transfer injuries can also be a lack of experience among crane operators who are poorly suited for the job. Oil and gas companies and/or the operators of seagoing vessels used to transport workers also have a duty of care to ensure that the basket transfer equipment has been inspected, maintained, and is in good working order.

In an ideal situation, a trained and qualified crane operator picks up the personnel basket and swings it off the ship and onto an oil rig or drilling platform. Unfortunately, many different factors can cause these types of operations to go awry. Many basket transfer accidents happen because of one or a combination of these factors:

  • Human error: An untrained or unqualified crane operator may drop the basket too quickly or misdirect the basket, causing impact injuries to those workers riding in the basket. Because of the size of the equipment, the force of impact, and the number of people in the vicinity, this type of accident can put many employees at risk.
  • Poor Sea Conditions: Safety rules enforced on seagoing vessels and oil rigs demand that basket transfers not be done if the weather conditions in the vicinity are too demanding, but many companies ignore these guidelines in the name of profit. When high seas cause vessels that are involved in a basket transfer to shift position, it becomes very challenging to transfer workers without inducing harm or injuries.
  • High Winds: When wind conditions become too intense, basket transfers are far more dangerous. In these conditions, workers riding in a basket are more likely to fall, bump into another vessel, or suffer serious injuries if the crane starts to sway.
  • Defective mechanical components: If equipment involved in a basket transfer has not been maintained, constructed, or manufactured properly, or is defective in some other way, injuries are more likely to occur. From major crane collapses to damaged basket components, even a minor mechanical complication can lead to a devastating accident.
  • Lack of safety coverage: There are numerous potential points of failure in a basket transfer. Not only must the crane operator be skilled and confident in their approach, but workers must be able to grip the net tightly enough not to fall. If a worker loses his grip and suffers injuries, it may be because of a lack of backup safety measures.

Federal and State Maritime Laws That May Affect You

To succeed in your lawsuit involving an injury suffered during a basket transfer incident, it is critical to file your claim based upon the right combination of laws. Laws and regulations that may impact your claim include:

Because these laws are extraordinarily complex, it is crucial to secure the help of a skilled and knowledgeable Texas attorney who understands not only maritime law but also how oil and gas companies operate in the gulf.

How Our Houston Maritime Accident Lawyers Can Help

Our highly skilled Houston personal injury lawyers at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. have decades of experience in successfully handling numerous Texas accident cases where oil and gas workers have been injured. We have won numerous cases of this nature in Texas. Our success comes from the fact that we take immediate action to investigate whether your basket transfer accident was due to negligent actions on the part of the rig owner, the commercial vessel, the crane operator, or other potentially liable parties.

Our evaluation of your basket transfer accident will include a medical examination to determine the extent of your injuries, a comprehensive survey of potential safety issues, and an examination of the safety records of all companies and personnel involved in the accident.

The Houston personal injury attorneys at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. have extensive experience with maritime accidents in Houston and the state of Texas. Contact us today at or by filling out the form below. We offer a free consultation and charge no fees unless we recover the compensation you need to help you recover from your Houston maritime accident.