The offshore oil and gas industry is not only an essential part of the nation’s economy, but it also provides thousands of jobs to workers in Texas. However, offshore oil extraction continues to be a dangerous field because of the combination of heavy machinery, long working hours, and constant exposure to hazardous conditions. In fact, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), offshore oil and gas workers are seven times more likely to die on the job than the average worker in the U.S.
1. Transportation Accidents
According to the CDC, transportation accidents were the leading cause of fatalities among oil and gas industry employees from 2003-2013. Offshore oil and gas workers largely rely on helicopters and water vehicles to safely transport them to rigs. The vast majority of transportation-related incidents during this time period involved helicopter accidents in the Gulf of Mexico. A 2011 CDC study identified mechanical failure and adverse weather conditions as the most common factors in helicopter accidents.
2. Contact with Objects or Equipment
Oil rig and platform workers deal with heavy machinery every day. Workers can be struck by falling objects or crushed between equipment that is not properly secured, is used incorrectly by crew members, or when workers have not been properly trained in the safe use of equipment. According to the CDC, contact with objects or equipment was the cause of 16 percent of all work-related fatalities in the offshore oil and gas extraction industry between 2003 to 2010.
3. Fires & Explosions
The Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010, which killed 11 crew members, is a tragic reminder of the dangers of fires and explosions on oil and gas rigs. Because of the presence of flammable materials, the potential for leaks, and the harsh environment, oil rigs are particularly susceptible to fires and explosions. Blowouts, equipment failures, and employee/employer negligence are common factors in fires and explosions on oil rigs.
4. Exposure to Harmful Substances or Environments
Offshore oil rig workers can come into contact with a variety of potentially harmful substances, including crude oil, solvents, drilling fluids, and production chemicals. Workers who are exposed to toxic chemicals or fumes can experience respiratory problems, allergic reactions, rashes, chemical burns, and asphyxiation.
5. Falls, Slips, and Trips
Falls, slips, and trips from a higher level onto lower decks or into the ocean can lead to serious injuries or even death. Slip and fall accidents can happen when wet or oily substances are allowed to collect on floor surfaces, ladders or scaffolds are not properly secured, or when work areas are not properly inspected for potential hazards. Employers are responsible for maintaining a safe work environment, which includes making sure that floors are regularly cleaned, non-skid surfaces are used when appropriate, fall protection exists in the form of guardrails, handrails, or grating, and walkways are cleared to reduce tripping hazards.
Common Offshore Oil Rig Injuries
Non-fatal offshore oil rig injuries often include:
- Mild, moderate, or severe traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord damage or paralysis
- Severe burns
- Chemical poisoning or toxic inhalation
- Limb amputation
- Crushing injuries
- Broken bones
- Back and neck injuries
If you have been the victim of an oil rig accident, it is important that you consult with an experienced Houston offshore injury lawyer who understands the complex and unique set of maritime laws and how they may apply to your case.
How Our Houston Offshore Injury Lawyers Can Help
The skilled team of attorneys at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. has more than four decades of experience handling virtually every type of oil rig accident and injury. We are dedicated to providing exceptional customer service and we will fight for the maximum compensation possible in your case. We are proud of our work on offshore injury cases and our successful track record includes winning one of the largest maritime accident recoveries in Texas history.
Call us at (281) 283-8500 to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our offshore injury lawyers today.