In 2019, there were 222 offshore worker injuries reported. This is in addition to dozens of fires, collisions, and other incidents.
There’s no doubt that maritime work is an exciting and lucrative profession. However, every offshore worker must accept that there’s a certain amount of risk with their chosen trade.
What are the most common offshore work injuries? More importantly, what steps should you take if you’ve experienced an on-the-job maritime injury?
We’ll discuss these answers and more, so keep reading!
1. Fires & Explosions
Oil and gas are highly flammable, so it’s no surprise that fires and explosions top our list of maritime injuries. Underwater pipes can crack or leak, while pipes and electrical cables can corrode.
Malfunctioning ventilation systems can lead to a buildup of combustible fumes, as the world saw during the Deepwater Horizon incident. Fuel and oil that’s improperly stored can become volatile and explode. There’s also a risk for fires or explosions if two vessels collide.
Workers who find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time may experience burns, scarring, hearing loss, or electrocution.
2. Slip & Fall Injuries
Another common type of offshore injury lawsuit results from slip and fall incidents. Oil rigs and ships have hard metallic surfaces that become slippery when wet. Add in strong wind gusts or violent storms, and you have the perfect recipe for a fall.
These types of maritime injuries can result in broken bones, brain damage, spinal cord damage, or internal bleeding.
Another unavoidable fact of life at sea is that you’re surrounded by a very corrosive element: salt. As the years go by, salt eats away at the casing around electrical equipment and components.
In time, even something as simple as changing a lightbulb can lead to a deadly shock. Education and safety inspections are key to preventing electrical accidents in offshore facilities.
4. Heavy Equipment
Offshore rigs use some of the heaviest machinery on the planet to extract oil and gas. Poor maintenance, high winds, and even minor earthquakes can create unexpected contact between machines and humans.
Equipment may malfunction or fail, or heavy objects can fall from great heights. Companies that fail to carry out regular assessments and maintenance may face a total rig collapse.
Any of these hazards can lead to crush injuries, broken bones, brain damage, or paralysis.
5. Hazardous Chemicals
Even if the equipment is functioning properly, every offshore worker can potentially come into contact with deadly chemicals.
Hydrogen sulfide, for example, is one of the biggest killers of offshore workers. The problem? It’s completely colorless and almost impossible to detect.
The good news is that all maritime workers are protected under the Jones Act. An attorney that specializes in maritime law can help you understand your rights if you’ve been injured at sea.
Offshore Worker Injuries: The Aftermath
Even with the proper safety precautions, accidents in offshore facilities can and do occur. If you’re an offshore worker who’s been injured on the job, talk to a maritime lawyer about the next steps to take.
Now that you know more about offshore work injuries, what’s next? Keep browsing our site for more informative articles!