For offshore workers, getting to and from a job can be a stressful and dangerous pursuit. Transportation incidents are among the top causes of injury and death among offshore workers, and they can occur at any time. The further out the platform or rig is, the greater the risk of something going wrong on your way there.
Many of the incidents where workers go missing or suffer massive injuries involve seafaring vessels that capsize or people that fall overboard, sometimes without personal flotation devices. Transportation on the water is always risky, as storms can blow in quite quickly on the open ocean.
Is it safer for you to board a seaplane capable of landing on or near your offshore workplace?
Seaplanes may also be a source of transportation risk
You may have heard the statistic that it is safer to travel via airplane than in a motor vehicle. That saying comes from looking at the number of miles traveled when compared with the total number of fatalities. Flying is usually safer than driving.
You may assume that similar statistics apply to transportation to your offshore work facility, but that isn’t necessarily true. In fact, small planes are substantially more likely per mile flown to end up experiencing a crash or some other kind of major aviation incident than larger commercial planes.
There are fewer federal regulations regarding planes in small fleets, and the company may have fewer resources to invest in maintenance and upgrades for its planes. Seaplanes can crash or experience mechanical failures that put passengers at risk. Simply put, there is no perfect solution for getting safely to an offshore work location.
Offshore injuries can be harder to address
Getting hurt on your way to or from a maritime work location, like an offshore oil facility, will present significantly more complications than a similar injury incurred on land. You won’t have the option of making a basic workers’ compensation insurance claim. Instead, you will likely need to pursue a civil claim against the company providing the transportation or an insurance claim if they have sufficient coverage.
Understanding your options after an injury in a maritime work environment and limiting your risks will help keep you safer as an offshore worker.