Offshore Accident Attorneys Discuss Common Offshore Mishaps

Offshore labor and production are critical components of the American economy. Shipping, freight, oil drilling, and shipbuilding are all essential parts of trade and commerce. Unfortunately, as important as these vocations are, they are also among the world’s most dangerous.

Offshore personnel are particularly vulnerable to offshore accidents and casualties, which can range from minor mishaps to catastrophic disasters. The offshore Accident lawyers below cover the many accidents and injuries that impact maritime workers. We also explain why it is critical to have an experienced marine lawyer on your side.

Common Offshore Workplace Accidents

Offshore drilling may be a dangerous job, and workers on offshore platforms face a range of hazards. The following are some of the most typical accidents that offshore platform workers face:

  • Slips, Trips, and Falls: On wet or uneven terrain, workers may slip or trip. This can result in shattered bones, sprains, and head trauma.
  • Heavy machinery is operated and maintained by workers, and accidents involving equipment such as drills, cranes, or forklifts can result in significant injuries or fatalities.
  • Offshore platforms handle flammable materials, which might result in fires or explosions. Explosions can occur as a result of equipment failure, human error, or natural calamities.
  • Chemical Exposure: During drilling operations, workers may be exposed to dangerous chemicals. This can cause skin irritation, breathing issues, and other major health consequences.
  • Offshore platforms are exposed to harsh weather conditions as well as wear and tear, and structural breakdown can occur, resulting in accidents or fatalities.
  • Drowning: Due to the proximity of water and the possibility of accidents, workers are at risk of drowning.
  • Employers must emphasize worker safety and provide sufficient training, safety equipment, and equipment and facility maintenance to prevent these accidents. Regular safety inspections and exercises can also help to reduce the risks of offshore platform accidents.

Offshore Accident Injuries That Are Common

Offshore drilling can be a hazardous occupation, with injuries occurring due to a variety of circumstances. Although not all accidents or incidents are catastrophic, they can nonetheless result in injuries for the individuals involved. Some of the most common offshore injuries suffered by offshore workers include:

  • Burns: Workers may be exposed to combustible materials or hot equipment, resulting in burns.
  • Workers may sustain head injuries as a result of falling objects or incidents involving heavy equipment.
  • Back ailments: The repetitive actions and heavy lifting required in offshore drilling can result in back ailments such as strains or sprains.
  • Hand Injuries: Workers who handle equipment or tools may get hand injuries such as cuts or crush injuries.
  • Respiratory Issues: Workers may be exposed to harmful substances such as chemicals or fumes, which can lead to respiratory issues.
  • Workers’ hearing loss may occur as a result of the loud noises produced by drilling equipment.
  • Workers who slip and fall on wet or slick surfaces may sustain shattered bones or fractures.
  • Drowning: Because of the proximity of water and the possibility of mishaps, offshore drilling employees are at risk of drowning.
  • Employers must take precautions to guarantee the safety of their employees, such as providing proper training, safety equipment, and adequate medical care in the event of an incident.

Offshore Significant Incidents

Aside from the usual accidents and injuries that strike offshore workers, there is also the possibility of major, catastrophic offshore occurrences. A succession of offshore catastrophes in recent decades has resulted in alarming losses of life, injuries, and environmental harm. Here are a few examples of similar incidents:

Capsize of Perro Negro 6
The jack-up drilling rig Perro Negro 6 crashed off the coast of Angola in February 2023. During drilling, one of the rig’s three legs collapsed. One person onboard was never found, and six others were injured. Eventually, the rig sank in 40 meters of water.

The Gas Leak on the Elgin Platform
A gas leak on the Elgin platform in the North Sea happened in 2012, resulting in the evacuation of workers and a serious environmental concern. The leak occurred as a result of a pressure control system malfunction. It took 51 days to stop the leak, during which time 200-400 cubic meters of gas were spilled into the environment.

The Oil Spill on the Deepwater Horizon
An explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in 2010 resulted in an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The force of the explosion claimed 11 lives and caused considerable environmental damage. An estimated 210 million gallons of oil were spilled into the Gulf of Mexico, disrupting the ecosystem, animals, tourism, and local residents.

Blowout of the West Atlas Rig
A blowout on the West Atlas drilling rig in the Timor Sea off the coast of Australia occurred in 2009, resulting in an oil leak and environmental damage. The blowout was large enough to utterly demolish the oil rig. Workers took ten weeks to seal the well, during which time 400,000 barrels of oil flowed into the sea. Despite the fact that no workers were wounded, the tragedy had a substantial impact on the environment and the economy.

The Piper Alpha Mishap
An explosion on the Piper Alpha oil rig in the North Sea in 1988 killed 167 people, making it the deadliest offshore oil rig catastrophe in history. A leak in a condensate line, a failure of safety measures, and a buildup of combustible gas all contributed to the explosion. 61 workers were evacuated before the rig crashed and sank.

These are only a few instances of the risks associated with offshore business. Many of the causes of these disasters were either human mistakes or a lack of sufficient inspection and safety standards. These incidents illustrate the need for offshore drilling safety protocols and regular equipment maintenance.

How Can Offshore Mishaps and Injuries Be Avoided?

When working in the maritime business, there are always risks. However, there are safety requirements that owners, operators, and supervisors must adhere to in order to ensure a safe work environment. Offshore injuries can be avoided by following the correct safety regulations and procedures. Here are some precautions you can take to avoid offshore injuries:

  1. Workers must be well-trained in safety procedures, handling equipment, and emergency response methods.
  2. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): To protect workers, employers must supply adequate PPE such as hard helmets, gloves, goggles, and safety harnesses.
  3. Regular maintenance of equipment and facilities can help prevent equipment malfunctions or structural failures.
  4. Employers must establish and practice emergency response plans in order to reduce the effects of accidents and respond to emergencies effectively.
  5. Hazard examination: A regular examination of the workplace can detect potential hazards and allow companies to take precautionary measures.
  6. Proper staffing numbers and scheduling can help reduce worker fatigue, which can lead to accidents and injuries.

Employers must encourage open communication among employees, supervisors, and management in order to detect and address safety concerns and prevent accidents.
Offshore injuries can be reduced and employees kept safe by applying these procedures. Employers must prioritize safety in offshore operations in order to avoid accidents and injuries.

What Maritime Employees Should Do Following an Accident or Injury

Maritime workers who are harmed while working offshore have legal rights to benefits and compensation. It is critical that marine workers are aware of their rights and duties. Following an accident or injury, the following actions can help marine employees get the assistance they require:

  1. Report the Injury: Workers should notify their supervisor or employer of any injuries as soon as feasible. The report should contain information on the injury and how it occurred.
  2. Seek Medical Attention: Employees should seek medical attention as soon as possible. In some circumstances, immediate medical intervention may be required. All medical treatments and diagnoses connected to the accident should be documented by workers.
  3. Document the incident: If possible, workers should document the incident by capturing images or videos of the accident. They should also document the circumstances surrounding the injury.
  4. File a Claim: Employees should file a compensation claim with their employer or the proper agency. Under maritime law, workers may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost earnings, and other damages.
  5. Consult an Offshore Accident Lawyer: Many workers find it beneficial to speak with a lawyer who specializes in marine law. A professional lawyer may assist workers in navigating the claims process, ensuring their rights are protected, and pursuing legal action if necessary.

After an injury, it is critical for marine employees to take the appropriate actions. Following proper processes and seeking legal counsel can assist in protecting workers’ rights and ensuring they receive adequate compensation for their injuries.

Why Hire a Maritime Offshore Accident Attorney?

Maritime legislation such as the Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act protect offshore workers’ rights. These rules give wounded workers the right to sue owners, operators, employers, and other persons whose negligence caused their injuries.

Maritime injury claims can provide important compensation for injured workers by providing benefits such as:

  • Medical Bills
  • Income squandered
  • Disability and Suffering

Maritime law is complicated, and various elements, including job title, vocation, and the circumstances of the damage, may determine what rights and laws may apply to workers. Working with an experienced offshore accident lawyer can help maritime employees understand their rights and compensation alternatives. Furthermore, a lawyer may assist in ensuring that all claims are processed and handled effectively, with the best interests of the workers in mind.