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Offshore Oil Rig Injuries: Rules, Regulations, & Common Injuries


Posted in High Seas, High Risk: Offshore Injury on April 1, 2018


Working on an offshore oil rig can be an exciting – and financially rewarding – career but it is also a very dangerous vocation. The important work done on oil rigs is often complicated by weather. Stormy seas and high winds pose extreme danger to workers on an offshore oil rig, so injuries and accidents are more likely in this industry than in many others.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury on an offshore oil rig, contact the Houston maritime lawyers at Lapeze and Johns to help you receive the compensation you deserve. At Lapeze and Johns, our maritime lawyers have ample experience helping victims of oil rig injuries seek justice and restitution. Maritime law is a complicated field and you need an experienced lawyer to help you with your claim.

What Are Some Common Injuries on an Oil Rig?

There are many more ways to be injured on an offshore oil rig. Maritime injury law recognizes the following injuries and allows workers to seek compensation:

  • Physical Accidents: Most tasks on an oil rig require intense physical labor, which entails many risks of injury including:
    • Chronic back pain: Working with heavy loads and massive machinery makes chronic back pain a common, yet very serious, injury among workers on oil rigs.
    • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs): Despite safety measures such as hard hats, TBIs are also common injuries on oil rigs. Rough seas can shift heavy loads unexpectedly and cause them to fall onto a worker’s head.
    • Severe burns: Severe burns are especially painful injuries that frequently occur on offshore oil rigs because of highly pressurized gas pipes and abundant fuel sources onboard. The risk of infection following a severe burn is very serious, and sanitary conditions aboard an offshore oil rig could worsen the situation.
  • Food Poisoning: The chances of becoming seriously ill from food poisoning are greater on an offshore oil rig than on land because of the inherent difficulty maritime life imposes on maintaining and preparing food at proper safety standards. The fact that medical help cannot arrive as quickly on an oil rig as it does on land makes food poisoning a more serious problem for workers.
  • Exposure to Chemicals and Hazardous Materials: Working on an offshore oil rig may lead to exposure to asbestos, silica, vinyl chloride, and many other toxic materials. These deadly chemicals can seriously compromise the immune system, and in the worst scenarios, they can lead to cancer.
  • Mental Exhaustion: Long shifts are common on an offshore oil rig. Working in such an intense environment for extended periods of time can lead to compromised mental functioning, which endangers the sufferer and those around them. Working with heavy machinery, flammable materials, and toxic chemicals while suffering from mental exhaustion is a recipe for disaster.

What Are the Rules and Regulations That Apply to Oil Rigs?

To minimize the inherent risks of working on an offshore oil rig, the law expects drilling and boat companies to uphold certain rules and regulations. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) is tasked with designing rules and regulations to create safer working environments for those on oil rigs, including the following:

  • Enhanced Well Design: Ever since the 2010 Drilling Safety Rule, permits for wells are required to meet higher standards of design to improve the safety of their casing, cementing, and overall design.
  • Corporate Accountability: To encourage transparency and accountability, audits are supposed to be done by accredited and neutral parties. Drilling and vessel companies are required to ensure that the workplace conditions are fair (to prevent exhaustion), safe (to reduce the risk of injury), and well-maintained (to ensure that equipment functions properly).
  • Workplace Safety: A number of new regulations seek to make oil rigs a safer workplace. For example, the offshore energy industry now receives safety alerts from the BSEE for both accidents that were avoided and incidents that were not. The number of inspectors and engineers has also been increased so wells can be inspected more thoroughly and regularly.

With more than 20 years of experience in maritime law, the Houston firm of Lapeze and Johns is ready to fight for your rights if you have been injured in an oil rig accident.

Our maritime lawyers know how to navigate the complicated process of filing an oil rig claim and dealing with drilling companies, boat companies, insurance companies, and their lawyers. The sooner you seek the aid of a Gulf Coast maritime lawyer, the sooner you can get your life back on track.

Contact the maritime lawyers Christopher Johns and Keith Lapeze at (713) 739-1010 today for your free legal consultation.