Working Risks from Oil Rigs

Working on an oil rig is a very dangerous job. Even if you follow all the safety rules and regulations, there is still room for error and accident while at work. Working long hours, with heavy machines, and uncontrollable weather, accidents are bound to happen. There are many ways in which accidents can happen, and as always, there is a first time for everything, so some accidents have no precedents. Regardless of the popularity of the type of accident, the gist is that accidents are more common than we think, and even if you think you are at fault, there is still legal action that can be taken.

The number one cause of oil rig accidents is negligence. That is that someone didn’t do their job, didn’t do it well, or skipped over necessary steps. Not using proper safety measures also falls under this category of negligence. Maintenance of oil rigs is also key to avoiding disaster, so when the cleaning, maintaining, and upkeep of the ship is neglected, accidents become much more likely.

Other than accidents that could have been avoided with more diligence and attention, the next leading cause of oil rig accidents is natural calamites. Oil rigs work out in the middle of the ocean, which is already by itself a dangerous situation to be in. Then when you throw typhoons, storms, hurricanes, and gales into the mix, it is a recipe for disaster. These forces of nature cannot be stopped or foreseen, so preparing for them is difficult, thus avoiding accidents during these times is rare to none.

So really, it comes down to negligence and nature when dealing with oil rig accidents. It is important to remember that regardless of who is at fault, in this case yourself or nature, there is still an opportunity to take legal action. According to Williams Kherkher, there are protections that exist specifically to assist those injured on oil rigs. The Jones Act or Merchant Marine Act of 1920, the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) all work together to protect oil rig workers.

Other reasons for oil rig accidents, mentioned by Williams Kherkher, are long shifts, equipment failure, and poor communication on the rig. Fatigue can often lead to negligence, along with poor communication. However, equipment failure is something that cannot be controlled. Regardless of the reason behind the accident, it is evident that accidents on oil rigs are common. Due to this high frequency of accidents, most oil rig companies have employees that are ready to handle injuries from the job. Throwing settlements and bonuses at their injured employees might appear like nice gestures, this is really just the company trying to avoid a lawsuit. With good lawyers representing you or a loved one after an oil rig accident, you could be entitled to much more than the settlement is offering. It is important to get what you deserve because no one should be subjected to danger on the job.


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Types of Financial Benefits paid by Workers’ Compensation

In the past, employers usually observed a hands-off policy in the event of workplace injuries, leaving an injured worker to hurdle physical and financial difficulties all on his/her own. To avail of financial assistance or compensation, an injured worker had to file a lawsuit against his/her employer.

The results of most lawsuits, though, favored the employers, who used one or any combination of the following arguments:

  • Contributory negligence –the injury was a result of the worker’s own act of negligence or recklessness;
  • The fellow worker rule – another worker’s negligent act was the cause of the accident and, thus, the injury; the employer had, whatsoever, nothing to do with it; and/or,
  • Assumption of risk – the nature of the job was dangerous and so the risk of sustaining injuries was always a possibility. Despite knowledge of the dangers, the injured worker still accepted the job.

The federal government took action in 1908, remedying the economic predicament of workers by passing the Workers’ Compensation Insurance benefit into law. Today, this benefit is enforced on employers, who have, at least, three employees working for them.

Workers’ Compensation is aimed at providing immediate financial assistance to workers (without the need for litigation). It should cover cost of medical treatment, lost wages, disability, rehabilitation and death. The employer’s or the company’s financial capability does not matter too as the benefit to be received by qualified applicants is to be paid by an insurance firm.

While the Workers’ Comp frees the employer from any legal obligations, the injured worker may have the right to pursue further legal action if the benefit is not actually offered by the employer, if there is clear proof that the accident was intended by the employer, or if the injury leads to death.

As explained by Spiros Law, P.C., “Recovering from a serious personal injury is a very challenging and trying experience. Victims often are suffering from severe physical and emotional trauma, making tasks that were once ordinary, seemingly impossible. If that were not enough, personal injuries are usually accompanied by mounting medical bills, extensive medical treatment, and prolonged absences from work leading to lost income. It is quite easy to see why so many victims and their families feel overwhelmed in the weeks and months following a personal injury.”

Those who can avail of Workers’ Comp benefits, according to the LaMarca Law Group, PC, are not only workers who work in notoriously dangerous industries because, in reality, any job can lead to serious injuries and medical conditions.

Anyone who develops an occupational disease, hearing loss, or sustains an injury may qualify for this type of support. Some of the most common reasons that individuals file for workers’ compensation are to address the costs resulting from:

  • Repetitive motion injuries
  • Head and brain injuries
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Shoulder and hip injuries

Workers’ Compensation pays benefits not just for workplace injuries too, but any injury or illness that may result to long-term / permanent disability or short-term / temporary disability.


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From Sick Leaves to Temporary Partial Disability Benefits

There is quite a difference between a sickness and a temporary disability. True enough that being sick, in and of itself, is a kind of temporary disability. After all, being sick means that you are temporarily unable to do your work and need a few days rest in order to recuperate from having been ill. However, a sickness will take a few days at most. That is why most employers only allow around six or so days every year to be entitled for an employee to avail of paid sick leaves. Temporary partial disability benefits are an entirely different ball game altogether.

According to the website of the lawyers over at Hankey Law Office P.C., a disability of this nature means that you are able to work, just not quite with the same quality, quantity; or in the usually expected capacity. These benefits are born of a compromise that is mutually beneficial for both the employer and the employee. An employee will not wish to lose his or her job because of an injury, especially if it was a result out of working (as is common for construction workers and such) but an employer will not want to pay out the same amount for a diminished quality or quantity of work done. The benefits ensure a fair though somewhat decreased wage for a period of time while the employee is still healing from the disability. Additional compensation may also be rewarding depends on specific circumstances.

This is usually automatic from employers, especially if the injury that caused the disability came from the work place and was work-related. However, the process with obtaining these benefits can be tedious, complex, and incredibly stressful if you were to try and accomplish this all yourself. That is why it is recommended for you to seek the help of a workers compensation lawyer in order to obtain the benefits that are owed you. Professional, expert help will not only make things flow faster and smoother but will also save you stress and heartache that are energies better channeled towards your getting better from the unfortunate situation that rendered you temporarily and partially disabled.


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The Department of Labor knows the great risks construction workers are exposed to everyday, due to the heavy equipment, sharp and dangerous tools, great heights from where some workers are required to perform certain jobs, and their exposure to hazardous substances. Construction sites, in fact, still lead all types of workplaces in the number of accidents registered every year and, according to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the leading causes of construction-related injuries, illnesses and deaths are falls, being caught between objects (such as two heavy equipment), electrocution, and being struck by an object (like a falling tool) – the top four causes which has been called by OSHA as the “Fatal Four.”

There are other causes, of course, which have been identified by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of 1971, such as use of weak hoists and ladders, scaffoldings not properly assembled, lack of railings that would protect workers from roof and building edges, and so forth.

The duty of ensuring safety and health in the workplace is placed by OSHA under the care of employers. But besides this major and primary responsibility, employers are also required to make sure that only qualified employees are hired, that safety gears and made available and that these are properly worn in work areas, that standard safety equipment are situated in designated places and that safe working practices are always observed, and that workers are given proper training, especially about the use/operation of dangerous tools and equipment.

An employer who negligently fails to perform his/her responsibilities in ensuring and maintaining a healthy and safe working environment for all employees can be charged with violation of the safety standard laws and may be made to face a lawsuit in the event of an accident.

A worker, who sustains any work-related injured, on the other hand, can file a claim with the workers’ compensation board for the financial assistance meant to cover his/her lost wages, cost of medical treatment, and others.

Often, applications for a claim get denied either by the employer or by the board itself. Making an appeal is the legal right of the injured worker, though, something that he cannot be denied or deterred from doing. To help ensure that an application contains all the necessary documents and is submitted within the statute of limitations (allotted time for submission which has been set by the state), it is best that the injured is helped and represented by a legal professional, specifically a Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyer.


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What to do if Injured on the Job

Not all companies are as happy to provide worker’s compensation (also known as workman’s comp in many states) to workers who have been injured while on the job. Anyone who is an employed worker of a company have the right for workman’s compensation benefit in n event that an accident during the time of work occurred and resulted to significant injuries. Despite workman’s compensation being a benefit of every employee, there are many ways a company can deny a claim, therefore it helps to know what to do to increase your chances of having your claim approved.

First thing to do is to have the accident reported immediately. Usually it only requires for 30 day or less, and if you think the injuries are enough to make you miss a day of work, you should report it immediately since this can increase the chances of acquiring the benefits faster. Next, part of the documentation of the accident is the gathering witness reports. Make sure that the witnesses’ names are listed. Then, seek medical help immediately, especially if the injuries are severe and call for medical attention. Most insurance companies will only brush off claims if the victim did not seek medical help, believing that the injuries were not serious enough to get treatment.

Another thing to remember is to make sure that the report fully and honestly explains the accident and how the injuries occurred. Put on paper that the accident occurred at work, and explain the incident as accurately as possible (although no need to elaborate), providing necessary details that could count as a factor to your injuries. This also means that you need to file and fill in the accident report forms carefully to avoid discrepancies; it is best to wait till you feel better and clear-headed so that you will be able to concentrate on the report. This also ensures that your statements are consistent and does not have any questionable information.

When the insurer asks for an authorization letter for copies of the medical records, check and make sure that the medical records and bills only pertain to the work injuries. Have a workman’s comp lawyer to advise you regarding other requests from the insurer, most especially a taped or recorded statement. Lastly, do not neglect your injuries and make sure to follow the doctor’s instructions regarding treatment, medications, and rehabilitation. Missing your appointment with your doctor can give the insurer the impression that the injuries were not that serious or that they have already healed, therefore would be the basis for terminating the workman’s comp benefits.

Workman’s comp or workers’ compensation benefit is a guarantee that the worker’s will be taken care of in an event of an accident along with ensuring that the company will not be facing any personal injury lawsuits from their workers. Being denied of workman’s comp could lead to financial distress, especially if you are not able to go back to work for a long time because of the injury. When an accident happen while at work that has resulted to a severe injury, it is best to consult a lawyer about your right for worker’s compensation to help assure that you will receive it.


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