Data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2015 cited oil rig work as one of the most dangerous industries to work in. That year, at least 120 workers were killed on the job. Studies show that these injuries and deaths in the oil rig industry are mostly caused by human errors, irregular application of procedures or equipment misuse.
Workers typically are asked to perform strenuous work over eight hours a day for several weeks while at sea. Their supervisors are often under significant pressure from their own bosses, often due to the high costs of running these types of operations. There are many proactive steps that oil rig managers can take to curb worker injuries, though.
One of the first steps that an oil rig superintendent can take in reducing the risk of injuries or death aboard it is to be proactive in monitoring his or her employees’ mental health. One study conducted among oil rig workers in Canada in 2014 showed that many of them became too consumed with maintaining their tough, masculine exterior at work and too little time to take care of their mental or physical health.
Superintendants who create a more communal environment on the rigs are more likely to have workers come to them and admit mistakes or when they’re feeling stressed. This can, in turn, make it more likely that errors can be fixed before they result in disasters.
A thorough walkthrough of the oil rig should be done at each shift change. There should be regular cleaning of the rig, equipment inspections and maintenance. Emergency crews should also periodically be allowed to inspect the rig as they know better how it’s set up and functions. Safety experts suggest that the more they know, the higher the chance of them being able to help contain a potentially catastrophic situation.
Having clear signage that clearly highlights different procedures or hazardous materials can go a long way in preventing accidents from occurring also.
There are many laws on the books including the Jones Act or The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, in addition to others, that may entitle injured offshore oil workers to compensation for injuries that occur on the job. A Louisiana attorney can advise you of the compensation you may be entitled to in your own case.