W orking on an oil rig or offshore commercial vessel takes a special breed. Being separated from family and friends for weeks or months at a time and facing plenty of unique hazards can take a toll on workers. Safety standards and good medical care can also be scant aboard commercial ships. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported in 2013 that offshore workers had a workplace fatality rate that is about seven times higher than the typical American worker.
Companies may not always provide adequate tools or equipment to get the job done safely. Injured offshore workers have rights, however, much like workers who are injured on dry land.
Most Common Offshore Worker Injuries
Some injuries are more common on certain types of vessels. For instance, fires may be more common on oil rigs and chemical container ships, simply by virtue of the hazards posed by working around combustible or flammable chemicals. In general, however, here are a few of the most common types of injuries workers experience in offshore accidents:
- Back and neck injuries
- Head traumas
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Cuts and open wounds
- Infections and untreated medical conditions
- Eye injuries
- Lost limbs (amputations)
- Finger and hand injuries
Offshore Oil Rig Fires
There have been some serious oil rig fires over the years, and sadly, despite increased safety standards, many companies still cut corners and look for cheap ways to maximize profits. Careless or reckless policies can lead to major fires and explosions.
Typical Causes of Oil Rig Explosions and Fires
While there can be a lot of reasons for fires or explosions on an offshore drilling rig, most serious injuries are caused by:
- Defective or poorly maintained equipment
- Failure to perform adequate safety inspections
- Improper oil and gas handling and storage issues
- Inadequate training or supervision
Offshore Injuries More Deadly and Complicated
Unlike an injury on land, there are a lot of extra risks that make an offshore injury more deadly. For one, there is usually a large amount of flammable or combustible material in a close proximity with little to no options for evacuation. Whether on a ship or a drilling platform, workers have nowhere to go to avoid an explosion or fire, and getting medical treatment can take hours, if not upwards of a day. Medical facilities may be limited, and communications may not always be reliable.
Hiring a Texas Maritime Personal Injury Lawyer
Houston is home to the Houston Ship Channel, which includes 367 miles of coastline and 10 shipping ports. This busy seaport acts as a major shipping hub and creates over $650 billion in international trade, while serving as a base of operations for drilling companies and commercial shipping operations. The attorneys at the Oweyssi Law Firm handle cases arising in Houston and all over the state of Texas.
When a worker gets hurt at sea, there can be challenges to getting compensated. You need the skill and experience of a firm that understands maritime injuries. Do not try to settle your injury claims without talking to a Houston offshore injury lawyer. Call or visit us online to schedule a free consultation with one of the dedicated attorneys of The Oweyssi Law Firm, PLLC.