Youngsville, Louisiana has been one of the fastest-growing cities in the state for the last ten years, and it’s no wonder: this city has a lot to offer its residents. Since 2005, Youngsville has grown its number of businesses from 8 to 100, and yet has managed to maintain its friendly, small-town feel. One thing’s for certain: the population of Youngsville is sure to grow as more and more people decide they want to live, work and raise their families in one of the top cities in America.
Even though Youngsville is growing, the city remains largely rural. This means that Youngsville offers some of the perks of a larger town without many of the drawbacks. The people of Youngsville get to enjoy great dining options like Morvant’s Bar and Grill, a new, top-notch sports complex, beautiful neighborhoods and a great school system. On top of that, Youngsville enjoys a low crime rate and the friendly atmosphere of a rural southern town.
It’s no wonder so many people choose to make Youngsville their home when the city has so much to offer—and yet, the city’s small size also means that many of Youngsville’s citizens must look outside of the city for work. Being located in southwest Louisiana means that many who choose to live in Youngsville also choose to make their living in offshore industries.
Working in offshore industries can be rewarding, but when employers don’t take appropriate safety measures, it can also be dangerous. Furthermore, being injured on the job while working offshore can potentially lead to serious legal complications, depending on the location of the work and the laws that apply to that particular company’s industry.
What Kinds of Accidents Can Happen Offshore?
The nature of offshore work lends itself to accidents. First of all, offshore workers have to deal with Mother Nature: wind, rain, sun, and storms can all have an effect on safety and working conditions. Second, working offshore often means working with or around heavy machinery and equipment. Even with proper training and safety procedures in place, this kind of machinery can pose a real risk to workers’ health, especially when equipment malfunctions or fails to perform in an expected manner.
The truth is offshore work is one of the most dangerous types of employment in the United States. In fact, according to the CDC, between 2003 and 2010, the U.S. oil and gas extraction industry had a fatality rate that was seven times higher than the fatality rate for all U.S. workers. Understanding what types of accidents are most common, as well as how to deal with the aftermath of an accident, can help offshore workers and their families feel more prepared for the future.
Offshore accidents can take a variety of forms. Here are a few of the most common ways offshore workers suffer injuries:
- Transportation and material moving. Almost a quarter of the fatalities that occur in offshore oil and gas operations occur to workers whose main job description revolves around transportation or the moving of materials. Furthermore, over half of fatalities in offshore industries occur during transportation. Aircraft accidents, particularly ones involving helicopters, lead the pack in this area. Transportation accidents can occur due to mechanical failure, loss of engine power or bad weather—and when a transportation accident occurs offshore, the stakes are even higher, as survivors of the accident must then contend with getting out of the water. Offshore workers who work in transportation are thus at a very high risk for serious injury.
- Contact with objects or equipment. Of course, working around heavy machinery always involves certain risks. But when you add adverse weather conditions, slippery decks, and other potentially unsafe working conditions, the risk of injury increases exponentially. Sixteen percent of fatalities occur because of contact with objects or equipment during offshore work.
- Fires and explosions. Unsafe equipment and lax safety procedures can result in dangerous fires and explosions on offshore rigs. Thirteen percent of fatalities between 2003 and 2010 were due to fires or explosions offshore.
- Exposure to harmful substances or environments. Working in the oil and gas extraction industries can result in workers coming into come into contact with harmful toxins. Also, working offshore can sometimes mean working in cramped or dangerous spaces. As a result Safety and Environmental Management Systems II regulations provide offshore workers the right to stop work if they observe dangerous conditions. It’s important for offshore workers to understand their right to stop work, as toxic exposures account for 13 percent of offshore fatalities.
What Should You Do After an Offshore Accident?
If you are injured in an offshore accident, you may find yourself uncertain on how to proceed. The first, and most important, step is for you to obtain medical care for your injury. Your safety and health is of paramount importance. Even if you don’t think you need medical attention right away, you should see a doctor. It may be days or even weeks before you realize the full range of your injury, but by then, it may be too late to prove that your injury was caused by an accident on the job.
Once you’ve received medical care, call the Law Offices of Matt & Allen to learn more about how you can proceed with a workers’ compensation or personal injury claim. Our attorneys have direct experience with the oil industry and offshore work, and we can help answer your questions and guide your next steps. Being injured on the job can take a serious toll on your physical, emotional and financial health. The stress of being injured and unable to work, being forced to take unpaid leave, medical bills—all of these stressors combine to create a complicated and serious situation for you and your family. But there’s no reason to go through it alone. Our attorneys understand the laws that apply to offshore accidents and we have the experience to help you obtain the support you need to move forward with your life.