Three companies are facing indictments for involuntary manslaughter over a 2012 oil rig explosion that took the lives of several workers in the Gulf of Mexico. Black Elk Energy Offshore Operations, Grand Isle Shipyards and Wood Group PSN face charges levied by the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.
The accident occurred after a buildup of hydrocarbon vapors ignited and caused an explosion. Structural damage from the explosion caused a fire on the platform, which spread out of control and killed three workers. In addition to three deaths, several other workers were injured.
In past blogs, we have mentioned how workers can lose their lives or suffer catastrophic injuries when companies fail to provide safe working environments for their employees. It might appear this case is a prime example, as the three companies responsible for the accident have been accused of ignoring safety regulations.
Under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, welding activities must be performed away from flammable hydrocarbons. The three oil companies are accused of not following these regulations.
Oil Rig Explosions are Devastating for Families
Although companies can face criminal charges, civil lawsuits are also possible. Family members affected by oil rig explosions sometimes file wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits.
The financial and emotional costs of losing loved ones can impose a significant burden upon the affected families. It would be ideal if these accidents never happened, and it is unfortunate companies in the Gulf of Mexico continue to endanger the lives of workers by ignoring safety regulations.