Everyone who has spent time in oil & gas knows how dangerous the industry is and that the risk of a rigging injury is constant. The danger is magnified on a platform out at sea, where help can be hours away if someone is seriously hurt or if there is a major disaster. Oil workers have to watch out for heavy equipment, falling tools, fires, hazardous chemicals, slips, and drilling hazards that can cause the entire platform to explode. And when accidents do occur, there’s often finger pointing between the owner of the platform, the leaser and any personnel onboard the platform. This can make it extremely difficult to resolve an accident and for a victim to recover compensation. That’s why so many turn to an attorney to help them through the process.
What can cause a rigging injury?
An oil platform must be closely watched at all times. Drilling is a dangerous process that can suffer from spikes in pressure or temperature if safety workers aren’t paying attention. Safety fallbacks, like concrete plugs, have to be installed correctly and maintained properly. Dangerous and combustible materials have to be stored correctly. Heavy equipment has to be operated by a trained professional and the worksite managed by responsive and careful personnel. If any of these expectations are not met, a platform can become a threat to everyone.
How severe can a rigging injury be?
Accidents on a platform are usually serious, if only because there is no hospital within hundreds of miles. Some of the worst accidents involve fire and explosions, and they can claim several lives and hurt dozens more. By now, most people are familiar with the Deepwater Horizon platform explosion, which killed 11 and injured 16 more. In the aftermath of the explosion, both the owner of the platform (Transocean) and the company leasing the platform (BP) blamed each other for the incident.
Serious accidents like this one can leave a worker with broken bones, widespread burns, or even severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). TBIs can range from mild concussions to terrible brain lesions. TBIs can manifest anywhere from a few weeks of confusion to permanent quadriplegia or cognitive impairment. An injured worker may have to spend the rest of their lives recovering from the accident and adjusting to their new standard of living. In many cases, a victim will not be able to return to work, leaving them without a way to make a living.
When a worker is hurt in an oil platform accident, they may face pressure from their employer to sign away their right to file a claim. A victim may be threatened with their job or threatened with additional financial damage if they don’t relent and hold their employer blameless. It’s important to remember that an employer is usually not on the victim’s side when an accident occurs. This is why many consider speaking to an attorney to protect their rights and ensure they are heard in court.