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More offshore rigs may mean more potential for injury

What is the top concern for workers headed to an offshore oil rig? Profit for the dangerous journey is one of them, and future job opportunities is probably another. The No. 1 worry is probably about safety, because injuries can be costly and painful as well as preventing workers from keeping their income flowing.

The prospect of more offshore equipment near the Louisiana coast is raising more safety concerns. The entire Gulf of Mexico is preparing for an oil glut and the offshore oil export terminals that can share this wealth with ports around the world.

Without enough terminals to manage the flow of newly discovered crude oil, crowded ports in Texas and Louisiana will not be able to handle the new traffic. Prices may be depressed temporarily until old ports expand their operations or new rigs off the coast can help build capacity to export oil.

New rigs bring new safety concerns, especially in the same decade as the worst offshore oil leak in history damaging the coasts and maritime wildlife of Louisiana. Lighter oil grades can be more difficult to refine, while oil exporting processes have new information that operators need to know to protect themselves and their fellow workers.

Workers injured on offshore drilling equipment or export terminals are generally protected by the Jones Act or similar legislation that guarantees workers’ compensation to cover medical expenses. This can be helpful when standard state workers’ compensation no longer applies. An attorney can help review the elements of a worker injury case and determine if a claim should be filed.