There’s no denying that a career in the oil and gas industry has its perks. Between the free training, travel, and lucrative pay, it’s not hard to see why some people are drawn to work in this field.
But there’s a reason why oil and gas workers are paid well, especially those that work on oil rigs. It’s a high-risk, dangerous job that combines high pressure, flammable chemicals, gas, and powerful equipment. This type of job requires hands-on experience, alertness, and industry expertise.
The reality is that oil rig accidents are commonplace. Some are even fatal. Here’s what you need to know about the most common types of accidents, causes, risk factors, and worker’s rights.
What Are the Most Common Oil Rig Accidents?
Major oil rig accidents such as the Deepwater Horizon Disaster are very rare. But smaller incidents, explosions, and fires do happen on a regular basis within the oil and gas industry. This results in a plethora of oil rig injuries that can have a lasting effect on a person’s quality of life and ability to work.
Some of the most common accidents that are a result of negligence include:
- Cuts and deep lacerations
- Chemical and fire burns
- Respiratory problems
- Broken bones and bone fractures
- Neck injury
- Traumatic brain injury
- Vision and hearing loss
Due to the nature of work on an oil rig, exposure to dangerous situations on an everyday basis is common. Workers live on a floating platform suspended above the raging seas below them for weeks at a time. They work with intricate and dangerous equipment, chemicals, and gas. Their working hours are long, which can lead to fatigue.
Suffice to say, working on an oil rig is a stressful job that requires constant attention-to-detail, protocol, and foresight. Any employee who is not fit for the working environment could put themselves and many others in danger.
How Do Oil Rig Accidents Happen?
As you may have guessed, there any number of things that can go wrong in this type of working environment. While explosions and fires are very common, there are few other causes of accidents:
- Transportation Accidents
The commute to and from an oil rig poses its own set of risks. It’s a complicated process that requires a number of different modes of transport, including helicopters and boats. Sometimes, these modes of transport are prone to failure or malfunction, resulting in crashes with the oil rig itself.
Some off-shore workers return to shore after a 12-14 hour shift. Extremely fatigued, they then commute to their lodgings which results in dangerous accidents including falling asleep at the wheel.
- Improper Safety Practices
Another common cause of oil rig accidents is equipment malfunction and inadequate safety practices. Oil rigs use large, intricate pieces of equipment that require expert working knowledge and constant maintenance.
The use of these machines also requires good safety practices. When you combine poor knowledge, poor maintenance, and poor safety protocols, this results in dangerous accidents.
Falling objects are also a contributor to oil rig accidents. Most oil rigs are not actually fixed to the ocean floor. Rather, they float on top of the ocean so this movement can cause large objects to shift, tip over, and cause major injury. Falling objects tend to cause injuries such as broken bones and traumatic brain injury.
- Explosions and Fires
It goes without saying that working with hazardous materials such as gas, chemicals, oil, and fire is risky all on its own. Not-to-mention all the pressure, complicated equipment, and unpredictable ocean weather faced by oil rig workers. These elements tend to cause accidents such as oil rig explosions, chemical fires, and more.
Risk Factors That Contribute to Oil Rig Accidents
Oil rig workers not only have to face falling objects, dangerous chemicals, a high-pressure working environment, and crazy weather. There are a number of additional risk factors that add to the ”danger pay” these people rightfully earn, such as:
- Sub-Par Safety Procedures
In order to cut back on costs, drilling companies tend to overlook certain safety procedures and protocols. They may use sub-par drilling methods, tools, and equipment.
They may forgo certain safety checks in order to speed up a project or save money i.e. the Deepwater Horizon disaster. As a result, everyone working on the oil rig is at risk.
- Poor Employee Training
When drilling season intensifies, this often calls for a flash hire of extra employees to assist with the increased workload. This results in drilling companies hiring employees without sufficient skill, experience, and training. As a result, oil rig accidents become commonplace.
- Employee Fatigue
The long hours of working on an oil rig pose a certain level of danger, too. Many employees work 12-14 hours shifts, for 7-14 day stretches at a time. The job is also highly stressful, which can result in serious fatigue, negligence, and oil rig accidents.
- Location and Isolation
Oil rigs are stationed many miles out to sea. They are a significant distance from any real medical or emergency help when it’s needed. There are also certain areas on an oil rig isolated from one another. They are loud, noisy environments that prevent coworkers from hearing one another when necessary. Naturally, this can result in poor communication and accidents.
Know Your Rights as an Oil Rig Worker
If you are stationed on an oil rig, it’s important to know your rights if you are injured on the job. You are 100% entitled to the following:
- You have the right to seek medical treatment from the onsite doctor, and a medical facility of your choice
- You have the right to report your injury once you have received medical treatment
- You have the right to file for medical, emotional, and physical compensation
- You have the right to do all-of-the-above without fear of losing your job or demotion
To add to this, you are also entitled to take as much rest and recovery as you need until you are cleared for work by your doctor. If your accident was caused by negligence on the employer’s part, you can seek compensation for loss of income, medical treatment, recovery, and more.
Get Your Health Back on Track, Post-Accident
If you’ve recently suffered a traumatic injury from an oil rig accident, the first thing you need to do once you’ve received medical treatment is find a personal injury lawyer. With the right lawyer on your side, you are guaranteed a better chance of claiming the damages you so rightly deserve.
If you’re looking for health and fitness inspiration after a work-related accident, this site is for you. Allow us to help you get your life back on track with inspirational content that feeds the soul. Explore the rest of this site for more!