Oil rigs can be dangerous places to work, and being an offshore worker is one of the most dangerous jobs. Safety is essential, but it can often become secondary in an industry with slim profit margins. Accidents on oil rigs frequently happen as part of the drilling process. Deaths can be one mistake away.
So why are oil rigs dangerous? Heavy equipment, toxins, and extreme weather surround you, and you are always one spark away from an out-of-control fire. You must be aware of these dangers to avoid them when working on an oil rig.
If you have been injured in an oil rig accident, you need an experienced attorney on your side. A good lawyer can ensure you get other compensation you are entitled to.
The Dangers That Come With Working on an Oil Rig
Working in the oil fields poses a wide risk of injuries. How dangerous is oil rig work? The online magazine Industry Safety and Hygiene News lists oil rig workers as the third most dangerous profession. The energy industry comes with many risks. Out on the water, you are far from help. Minor missteps often expand into serious disasters.
The four top dangers that hurt oil rig workers are:
Heavy equipment malfunctions
Toxic pollution and hazardous chemical exposure
Catastrophic fires from flammable materials
Extreme weather conditions
Accidents on oil rigs happen, even with the most experienced and well-trained workers. Injuries like limb loss, traumatic brain injury (TBI), or death can be severe.
Heavy Equipment Malfunctions
On an oil or gas rig, heavy equipment surrounds workers every day. Much of this equipment holds volatile materials or can cause an explosive reaction on its own. Responsible parties on the oil rig must inspect this equipment regularly and make repairs as necessary. Workers also need adequate training on all equipment. If any of these steps are missed, the result can lead to blow-outs, explosions, or decompression nightmares.
Heavy equipment accidents have four major causes.
Inadequate training or experience: Good training should be offered immediately when the rig gets new equipment or workers and must be ongoing for those who have been around for a while.
Inadequate machinery maintenance: An oil rig needs a maintenance culture where maintaining equipment is an ongoing priority.
Lack of safety equipment: All workers need the bare minimum of safety equipment, including boots, gloves, safety glasses, hard hats, and protective earwear. Some specialized jobs need even more safety equipment.
Worker fatigue: Days on an oil rig are long, and often workers don’t get enough sleep off-shift. Being tired leads to mistakes.
Toxic Pollution and Hazardous Chemical Exposure
Many people face occupational exposure to industrial chemicals. A toxic tort is a lawsuit for harm caused by these chemicals. Some of these substances cause cancer or other serious diseases. You may touch, inhale, or ingest these chemicals, which may harm you immediately or only several years after exposure.
You may find fibers, suspension, clay control, biocides, polymers, suspension and rheology chemicals, surface modifiers, fillers, and particles on the rig as well as specialty cement and membrane-sealing solutions. Each of these often need to be used and stored in specific ways and may interact poorly with other chemicals. A momentary distraction can cause a significant problem.
Catastrophic Fires From Flammable Materials
Many substances are explosive on an oil or gas rig, including the oil or gas you drill for, the chemicals you use to get to that oil or maintain equipment, and others. Even a small spark can mushroom into a catastrophic fire.
Employees of the oil and gas industry need to be trained and knowledgeable about the chemicals they come into contact with on a daily basis. Remembering their qualities and keeping them straight is a demanding job.
Extreme Weather Conditions
Hurricanes, gales, strong winds, rogue waves, and other natural disasters strike oil rigs regularly. Oil rig workers need to be prepared, but sometimes preparedness isn’t enough, and disasters happen anyway.
Extreme weather causes some of the biggest disasters. It can lead to the oil rig capsizing or exploding. Extreme weather is also a leading cause of collisions with support vessels or other platforms.
Can You Sue an Oil Company if You’ve Been Injured?
If working on an oil or gas rig has injured you, you may be able to sue the oil company or another party.
If your employer was negligent, or wrong, you may be able to sue them for personal injury. If the injury is the fault of the equipment, you may be able to bring a product liability lawsuit against the equipment manufacturer.
Speak With an Oil Rig Accident Lawyer About Your Personal Injury Claim
Why are oil rigs dangerous? Away from land, risks multiply. Chemicals and heavy equipment surround you on the platform, and added danger comes from fire and weather.
Oil rig cases can be difficult. You need to talk to an experienced oil rig accident lawyer to learn more about the compensation you may be eligible for. At Dunn Sheehan, we have knowledgeable and qualified attorneys who can answer your questions and lead you forward.