There is little about working on an offshore oil rig that isn’t dangerous. Besides the fact that workers are working in extremely deep water in relative isolation, they are also dealing with a lot of heavy equipment, hazardous materials and a number of other potential hazards. A lot of things can go wrong and too often do. But one of the biggest risks workers face is the hazard of offshore explosion accidents on oil rigs.
Most people remember the accident that occurred five years ago in the Gulf of Mexico, in which a breach in the Deepwater Horizon oil rig owned by oil giant BP dumped millions of barrels of crude oil into the sea and disrupted plants and wildlife for a large portion of the Gulf. What is less talked about is the explosion and fire that accompanied the spill, which took the lives of 11 workers and left 17 injured.
Offshore oil rigs are actually highly vulnerable to fires and explosions, primarily because they extract and store large amounts of crude oil, and such explosions are very dangerous and difficult to contain. That’s why 13 percent of all oil rig fatalities during the period from 2003-2010 were due to offshore explosion accidents and fires. In 2010-2011, there were 147 serious injuries from explosions and fires.
Types and Causes of Injuries
A number of injuries can occur to workers in offshore explosion accidents on an oil rig, besides the obvious drowning risk and the risk of burn injuries; some suffocate through smoke inhalation, while others suffer head trauma, bone fractures and a lot more. Many of these injuries can be devastating to the injured workers and their families, and recovery can sometimes take years, and result in long periods without work. In some cases, the worker can die, which can create a cause of action to recover for wrongful death.
A key factor in most offshore explosion accidents Houston attorneys see is a company that violates safety regulations by cutting corners to maximize profit. That was the main factor in the Deepwater Horizon explosion; BP used old and outdated equipment and overworked their employees in an effort to significantly reduce their costs.
Most offshore oil rig explosions are preventable, and happen due to the negligence of either companies or workers or both. Whether the cause is using the wrong or defective equipment, making sure workers are rested and well-trained to operate the equipment the right way, companies that own these rigs have a duty to keep workers safe.
Get Help With Offshore Explosion Accidents Houston
If you or a loved one has been injured or suffered a wrongful death due to an offshore oil rig explosion, there is a good chance someone was negligent somewhere along the line. You may have the right to seek compensation. Contact the skilled Houston offshore injury attorneys at Richard J. Plezia & Associates, so that we can review all of the circumstances surrounding the accident and try to get compensation for you.