There are few jobs as dangerous as those in the oil and gas industry. Heavy machinery, hazardous and flammable chemicals, and remote locations are all risks faced by oil rig workers. This is especially true when there’s an emergency, a potential explosion, significant slip, trip and fall hazards, or even the danger of falling from heights.
Due to this danger, companies should always have an employee on site who is trained to manage any unexpected factors during drilling in order to prevent a catastrophe.
If an oil rig fails, there can be a number of hazards to contend with. For example, heavy beams or pieces of equipment can fall on workers, hitting or crushing them. Explosions are a major hazard as well, especially if emergency shutdown systems have become inaccessible or non-functional. In addition, fire can spread rapidly throughout the rig, exposing those working at the site.
Factors that can boost safety on an oil rig in Texas
Ensuring that all machinery and safety equipment has been properly maintained is imperative to prevent accidents. Even a minor mechanical failure onboard an oil rig can cause catastrophic injuries.
In addition, water and repetitive motion tasks degrade machinery quickly, causing potential problems with work equipment to go undetected.
Here are a few things your employer should consider to enhance safety at an oil rig:
- Ensure that an adequate number of crew members are on board.
- Have a supply of fire extinguishers on board.
- Have adequate safety equipment, such as life jackets and rafts.
- Provide a detailed emergency plan and train crew members on implementation.
- Carry out frequent and thorough inspections to ensure that all equipment is functioning properly.
Use of equipment and training to prevent explosions
Safety equipment can greatly minimize the damage resulting from an explosion at sea for both the workers and the rig itself. For this reason, providing fire extinguishers and training workers on their use can quickly quell any fire on board.
Training also plays a key role in both accident prevention and response, as workers must know how to operate machinery safely, how to identify if there’s a problem and how to react to an emergency.
Evacuation protocols, lines of communication and other response techniques can mean the difference between onboard panic and an organized effort to reduce damage. Taking shortcuts or neglecting any of these steps to promote safe practices may put the entire team at risk.
The importance of complying with safety standards on oil rigs
Oil rig workers face numerous hazardous conditions on a daily basis, which is evident in the number of accidents that have occurred in recent years. In the Gulf of Mexico alone, there are more than 4,000 oil rigs, of which 25% are physically manned by workers.
Due to the constant work that must be done to maintain this equipment, there’s a high risk of a worker suffering an injury on an oil rig at some point or another. Since a simple misstep could have catastrophic results, it’s crucial that proper safety standards are implemented and followed at all times.
All offshore workers have rights under the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, commonly known as the Jones Act. This U.S. federal statute regulates maritime commerce in U.S. waters and between U.S. ports.
Thus, it allows all workers on the high seas to file claims and collect damages from their employers for the negligence of a supervisory authority or a co-worker. This means that if an employer fails to comply with the safety standards that have been established and a worker is subsequently injured, he/she may be subject to a civil lawsuit.
Often, an oil rig worker won’t be able to return to work after a serious injury, so they may have no choice but to seek adequate compensation from the responsible party.
Types of oil rig safety standards
Due to the enormous risks that oil rig workers face on a day-to-day basis, it’s essential that everyone understands what safety rules must be implemented and followed.
Although most employees are subject to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards, there are differences when working offshore. Employees at sea working on oil rigs must comply with standards set by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
These standards were developed to protect workers who are susceptible to hazards when performing dangerous activities. Therefore, employers must have the following measures and standards in place to ensure it’s a safe place to work:
- Maintenance should be performed regularly on all equipment to ensure proper working conditions.
- Workers need to be trained on how to implement proper safety techniques.
- Oil rig owners are required to provide free medical care to all employees.
- Equipment should be stored in a safe area that doesn’t present a fall hazard.
- Meetings and emergency drills should be conducted weekly to prepare for accidents.
- Workers must have access to the General Platform Alarm and emergency contact numbers.
Legal claims for safety violations and obstructions
The top priority for maritime employers should be the safety of their workers. Due to bad practices, workers may suffer from safety violations that cause:
- Fire and explosion
- Wrongful death
When preventable injuries occur, the injured party may file a claim for the unlawful practices at the workplace. Typically, legal proceedings focus on unsafe conditions that arise as a result of a company’s decision to violate standard industry safety practices.
To file a claim, one or more of the following conditions must be proven:
- Lack of guards or safety rails on rig equipment.
- Continued use of malfunctioning or poorly maintained equipment.
- Lack of necessary safety equipment, such as life jackets and life rafts.
- Inadequate number of crew members.
- Lack of fire extinguishers or other means of fire suppression.
This is just a small sample of the many violations that can occur. After an explosion, fire or accident of any kind, it’s crucial to seek the legal assistance of an attorney who can help you hold your employer accountable.
5 safety measures to prevent injuries on an oil rig
So, how do you stay safe while working on an oil rig?
Simple. You must assess the risk factors and follow the rules.
- Protect the machines.
- Always use reliable lighting.
- Keep work surfaces slip-resistant.
- Have plenty of repair and safety tool boxes located throughout the rig.
- Create an emergency response plan.
Get help with your oil rig injury case
Has a loved one been injured or killed in an oil rig accident? You deserve compensation if the employer’s negligence caused the accident. Our oil rig injury lawyers at the Law Offices of George Salinas can evaluate whether you have a personal injury case against your employer.
At the Law Offices of George Salinas, we can help you build your oil rig injury claim to negotiate the best possible compensation settlement. Legal expenses can be costly, so you won’t pay us unless we win your case.
Get in touch with our team and schedule your free consultation!
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