Working in an offshore environment is significantly different than standard employment. Workers often live in the same place where they work, frequently going weeks without seeing their loved ones. They may work incredibly long shifts in all kinds of weather and at all times of day.
The possible risks associated with offshore employment are typically also different than the standard safety concerns present at most job sites. Offshore workers in the oil and gas industries, in particular, have to navigate a lot of risks related to getting to their job site.
Transportation issues are a leading cause of worker fatalities
When looking at the oil and gas industries in general, transportation plays an outsized role in worker deaths and injuries. For those working in maritime environments, getting to and from a platform could be as risky as handling chemicals and the possibility of a fire.
According to fatality statistics provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 51% of the offshore worker fatalities related to oil and gas work between 2003 and 2010 involved transportation to work sites. Issues with reporting accuracy related to worker fatalities in recent years underscore such risks, as companies may ignore or downplay fatalities that don’t happen on an active worksite.
Injured workers and family members still have rights
While standard workers’ compensation coverage does not apply to tragedies that occur in offshore environments, there are still protections in place for injured maritime workers and grieving family members who lose a loved one due to an incident at an offshore job site.
It may be necessary to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the company providing transportation or possibly the employer, especially if they require that a worker must arrive at a specific time despite inclement weather that would make travel dangerous.
A lawsuit could lead to compensation for medical expenses and lost wages. It can also draw attention to work risks and potentially lead to the organizations involved improving their safety practices. Learning more about the protections available for maritime workers and their risks on the job will help those working out on the open water as well as the people who love them.