Preventable Deaths: Workplace Safety and the Oil Industry

Oil rig accidents are too commonOffshore drilling has an extensive history of fatal and non-fatal workplace accidents. Many of these incidents could be prevented if employers took workplace safety more seriously.

Most recently, a Louisiana worker died while servicing an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. His death is being investigated by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. No cause has yet to be released, but this man is not the first person to lose his life while working in oil industry.

What are the risks of working on offshore rigs?

Fires: Workers are constantly operating around flammable materials. Employers may require workers to perform dangerous tasks around flammable materials, such as welding. A Gulf of Mexico oil company was recently charged with manslaughter for requiring workers to weld around flammable materials. Several workers died from a resulting explosion.

Gas: Rig workers are at risk of inhaling deadly hydrocarbons. Gases such as hydrogen sulfide can kill workers who are servicing tanks. The Centers for Disease Control has warned some vapors found on rigs can cause cardiac arrest and death. Companies need to work to reduce hydrocarbon gas buildup in enclosed areas so workers are not put at risk.

Falls: Rigs have multiple platforms and sometimes slick surfaces. When employers fail to provide adequate fall protection, workers can die or suffer catastrophic injuries.

Oil Rig Accidents Have Many Causes

Although the cause of death is yet to be determined for the Gulf of Mexico rig worker, other offshore employees are put in harm’s way due to unsafe work environments. These are only a small handful of reasons why oil rig accidents are common. In future blogs, we will go into more detail for each major cause.

The Lafayette personal injury attorneys at Galloway Jefcoat have decades of experience helping workers and families hold negligent oil companies accountable for workplace accidents.


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