Gulf of Mexico Rig Explosions Expose Poor Safety Record in the Oil Industry

Oil rig explosions can cost families everythingIn 2012, a deadly Gulf of Mexico rig explosion took the lives of three workers and injured many others. Now the case involving the deadly explosion is headed to trial, where a U.S. District Judge could possibly charge Black Elk Energy and Grand Isle Shipyards officials with manslaughter.

Another deadly rig explosion, one we here in Louisiana know all about, is the Deepwater Horizon incident. In 2010, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig killed 11 workers and leaked 134 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Both of these explosions were preventable accidents that show a disregard for safety in the oil industry. This is not our opinion, but the conclusion of government-led inquiries. In 2011, a White House commission reported that BP failed to act on a faulty pressure reading test that would have alerted company officials to dangerous rig conditions. The Deepwater Horizon Study Group came to similar conclusions, blaming BP officials for lax safety conditions on the rig leading up to the explosion.

In the 2012 explosion, rig workers were allowed to weld near flammable materials. A federal report on the explosion mentions a disregard for proper workplace safety practices and rushing work.

How Can Negligent Oil Companies Be Held Accountable?

In the first case we mentioned, it is possible company officials for Black Elk Energy and Grand Isle Shipyards will face criminal penalties for manslaughter. Even if those who shoulder the most responsibility for rig explosions escape criminal charges, it does not mean survivors and family members are barred from filing civil lawsuits. Companies that endanger the lives of workers to become more profitable should always be held accountable.


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