Jobs in the oil and gas industry are popular for numerous reasons. The pay is good, the training is free, and there’s often a tremendous amount of flexibility and downtime. But there are also some dangerous parts about working in this field. In particular, employees face extensive risks.
Should you ever find yourself in a situation where you’re injured while working on an oil rig, it’s imperative that you know exactly how to respond.
Common Oil Rig Injuries and Accidents
When protocol is followed and equipment is properly maintained, oil rigs are very safe. But when something does go wrong, the consequences can be severe. Common injuries and accidents include:
- Falling objects. Whether it’s a piece of personal equipment or a part of the oil rig, falling objects can quickly become dangerous and deadly. They can lead to broken bones, concussions, traumatic brain injuries, and even death.
- Commuting and transportation. Getting to and from an offshore oil rig requires a lot of moving parts. This may include a combination of cars, boats, and helicopters. Weary workers who’ve been on call for 24-hour shifts can easily make mistakes and cause accidents.
- Explosions and fires. While they aren’t a regular occurrence, explosions and fires do happen. They can lead to fire and chemical burns, respiratory issues, hearing and vision loss, and other serious injuries.
5 Things You Need to Know
If you find yourself in a situation where you’re injured or hurt on an offshore oil rig, your response will determine how things play out. Here’s what you need to know:
- You Aren’t Protected by Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Did you know that seamen and individuals who work on offshore oil rigs are not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits like other employees on land? If you’re banking on workers’ comp, you need to shift gears and explore other options.
- But You May be Covered by Another Act or Protection
The good news is that there are other forms of protection and compensation in place. The Jones Act is by far the most commonly used regulation.
“To obtain compensation under the Jones Act, the injured party must have been a seaman who suffered an injury on the job due to negligence on the part of the owner, captain or crew,” Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C. explains. “Injured seamen can recover compensation for past and future medical bills and lost wages. Under the Jones Act, family members can recover compensation if their loved one was a seaman who was killed on the job.”
Depending on the job title, location, and type of claim, there are two other acts that could come into play: The Longshore and Harbor Workers of the High Sea Act or the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.
- Hire a Lawyer to Navigate Your Case
Because of the complexities of injuries that occur away from American soil, it’s often helpful to hire an attorney to navigate these issues. A good maritime lawyer or offshore attorney will assist you in dealing with your claim.
- Don’t Feel Guilty
Depending on who you work for, you may face some backlash or pressure not to file a claim. They probably won’t discourage you outright, but they will try to make you feel guilty for “going against your family.” Resist the temptation to fall for this emotional plea. Your company might care about you, but they mostly care about their bottom line. It’s up to you to look out for yourself and prioritize your own best interests.
- Focus on a Full Recovery
When it’s all said and done, nothing matters more than your health. Whether it’s something relatively minor like a broken bone, or something as serious as a traumatic brain injury, make sure you seek out the proper medical care.
In terms of being properly compensated for your injuries and medical bills, it’s also necessary that you follow your doctor’s orders. Otherwise, you could slow down the process and/or jeopardize the integrity of the case.
Adding it All Up
No two oil rig accidents are the same, but they often result in similar injuries and outcomes. Make sure you respond in an efficient and reasonable manner so that you receive the compensation you deserve.