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Rig, Offshore Drilling and Platform Injuries

Have you or a loved one been killed or injured working offshore on a rig or platform?

One of the most dangerous jobs in the world is working in the offshore drilling industry. According to the U.S. Minerals Management Service, from 2001 to 2010, 69 people died in offshore accidents and 1,349 people were injured. The dangers inherent in drilling for oil and gas are multiplied by the fact that the work is being conducted in the middle of the ocean and, thus, a person is subjecting himself to all of the perils of the sea. These perils include but are not limited to unknown sub-surfaces, unpredictable weather conditions, violent sea conditions and limited access to life-saving equipment. These hazards are often further multiplied when companies overwork their employees, fail to properly train their personnel or use green hands that have no business being offshore. Tragically, many injuries and deaths are easily preventable if some common sense safety measures are in place.

As with most things in admiralty and maritime law, the law that applies to your situation if you were injured while drilling for oil and gas offshore depends on your particular situation and the type of structure you were working on when the accident occurred. In terms of the situation, any offshore injury lawyer you hire will need to focus particular attention on the scope of your employment including the nature of your work, the length of time you spent on the water, whether your job contributed to the mission of a vessel and other related information.

As for the type of structure, the law that applies to your situation will depend on whether you are on a platform, jack-up rig, semi-submersible, spar, drilling vessel or floating production platform. Generally speaking, a platform is not considered a vessel, so the Jones Act would not apply. Typically, jack-up rigs, semi-submersible rigs, spars and drilling vessels are considered vessels and, thus, the Jones Act will apply, assuming you meet the other requirements to qualify as a Jones Act seaman.

The Driller

A driller on an oil rig has a number of duties. He is responsible for supervising and directing crew operations. He works under the drilling rig manager and reports directly to him. He is also responsible for maintaining the drilling equipment.

When a drilling rig manager is away, it’s the driller who may be in charge of carrying out his duties. In such a situation, the driller must make sure that the crews under him are carrying out their activities safely. He’s in charge of operating a range of equipment on the rig, including pumps, drill pipe and the rotary table.

A driller may also be in charge of training new crew members, and this is one of his most important responsibilities. An oil rig can be a notoriously cliquey environment to work in. New entrants are typically left out and have little encouragement from other crew members. Drillers must make sure that new crews are slowly absorbed into the never-ending cycle of activities that take place on an oil rig.

Basically, a driller:

  • Directs the activities of the crews
  • Assumes the responsibilities of the drilling rig manager when he’s not around
  • Maintains drilling equipment
  • Makes sure that crews are performing their tasks properly
  • Operates pumps, drill pipe and other equipment on an oil rig

Drillers, like most other crew members on the rig, work in harsh, demanding conditions.

Most of the work is located outdoors, and the work doesn’t stop in the sweltering heat, or during stormy or rainy conditions. They are constantly exposed to deafening noise from the equipment, the suffocating dust, and the harsh, salty winds. They are constantly exposed to chemicals and fumes, and must be able to work through these hazardous conditions.

Have you or a loved one been injured or killed on a rig or platform (offshore injury)? Call for a FREE legal consultation now!

Gregg S. Harrison, Attorney at Law, PLLC
Greater Houston/Northwest Houston Rig, Offshore, Drilling Lawyer
Office: 281-929-0110
Cell: 832-797-7600