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The Perils of Commercial Diving

Rick Plezia January 11, 2016 Offshore Injuries

Whether you work on a dive vessel, an offshore oil rig, or you work underwater, commercial diving is one of the most demanding and dangerous jobs in Texas. More than in most other professions, a commercial diver relies almost completely on their dive team to stay safe while on the job. In addition to a competent ship’s captain and safety officer, a diver also needs a competent dive supervisor and experienced tender in order to prevent serious injury or even death. The ability to work underwater safely requires a high level of expertise above the surface of the water as well as in the water itself or commercial diving injuries can occur.

Houston Maritime LawyerMany accidents involving divers happen due to employer negligence. Like every other employer, employers of commercial divers have a duty to do whatever they can to keep divers safe while on the job. Companies are required to follow all OSHA regulations, as well as follow all policies, procedures and U.S. Coast Guard regulations designed to promote diver safety.

Sometimes, divers experience accidents that are similar to their land-based counterparts, including exposure to defective equipment, inadequate safety equipment, and the like. However, there are other risks unique to that job. Among some of the most common issues leading to commercial diving injuries include diving equipment failure, improper gas mixtures, twisted air tubes, lack of oxygen, staying at depth for too long, repetitive diving, or using the wrong dive table. Sometimes, the dive team pulls the diver up out of the water too quickly and sets the hyperbaric chamber to the wrong decompression setting.

Likewise, commercial diving workers often suffer the same types of injuries as land-based workers, but a number of other injuries are unique to the diving profession, especially serious lung disorders like decompression illness and vestibular pulmonary barotrauma. Oilfield diving often takes place in exceptionally deep water, which can be extremely unforgiving and enhance those risks.

Commercial divers are usually considered seamen, which means they are not strictly confined to the workers’ compensation system if they become injured on the job. They are covered by a number of laws designed to protect them including the Jones Act. Of course, third-party claims based on factors such as defective diving equipment may also be available, depending on the circumstances of the accident.

Get Legal Help With Commercial Diving Injuries In Houston Texas

Whenever the employer of a commercial diver fails to follow required safety procedures, they place their employees’ lives and livelihood in danger. When that happens, as seamen, divers may be eligible for Jones Act claims, as well as benefits as laid out in the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.

When an employer can be shown to be negligent, a commercial diver can recover compensation for pain, suffering and disability, in addition to lost wages, but to do that, they will need an experienced Houston maritime attorney with the best investigative and trial skills to help them protect their rights and prove their claim. Contact Richard J. Plezia & Associates today, so that we can evaluate your commercial diving injuries case and help you do just that.