If you work offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, you already know the dangers that you face before you even set foot on the oil rig. While major disasters like the Deepwater Horizon explosion garner the bulk of the media's attention, most work-related fatalities in the offshore oil and gas industries are related to transportation events.
Offshore workers typically arrive at the oil rigs aboard chartered helicopters, which can crash into the Gulf. This makes these tragedies the fatal events that occur most frequently in the industry.
What causes the helicopter crashes?
While each fatal event is unique, some commonalities have emerged -- most notably inclement weather and mechanical failures. When the mechanical failures forced the pilots to attempt to land their helicopters, most had to try to land in the Gulf. In 20 percent of the crash landings on water where nobody died, the aircraft flotation devices didn't deploy or work.
Perhaps due to inconsistent use of life jackets, drowning was cited as the primary cause of death, followed by exposure.
Other deadly offshore hazards
In the years between 2003 and 2010, there were 128 deaths of workers in the oil and gas industries. Of that total, 127 fatalities occurred in operations based in the Gulf of Mexico.
Fatal incidents not involving helicopters or other forms of transportation included:
- Contact with equipment or objects (16 percent)
- Fires and explosions (13 percent)
- Exposure to harmful environments or substances (13 percent)
If you were injured while working offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, you might be entitled to financial compensation and potentially other benefits.