Workplace Injuries In The Offshore Oil Industry

4 August 2014
 Categories: , Blog


Working on an oil rig not only affects your family and social life, but can also prove to be extremely dangerous. You don't have to look any further than the recent Deepwater Horizon incident to gauge the danger to human life - 11 workers were killed and a further 16 were injured. Despite this, many people are attracted to the offshore industry due to the lucrative salaries and benefits offered. However, this decision shouldn't be taken lightly and those considering a job in the oil industry must understand the dangers involved in taking a job offshore. 

Common Sources of Injury

Offshore oil rigs are potent grounds for injury, posing numerous safety risks and hazards to workers. As such, workers are required to wear extensive safety gear in order to protect themselves, such as eye goggles, steel-toed boots and hard hats. 

However, these safety measures only offer some degree of protection and don't completely remove the problem. Common causes of injury and death include, bur are not limited to: 

  • Machinery - The majority of jobs on oil rigs are manual and require skilled personnel to properly carry them out. However, this machinery can prove dangerous to workers and may cause serious injury. 
  • Drilling - Drilling the surface of the oceans is a dangerous task - in the worst-case scenario 'blowouts' can occurs causing explosions and fire, endangering for workers on board the rig. 
  • Weather - Offshore oil and gas rigs are susceptible to extreme weather conditions that can affect their ability to work safely. Rain, hail, snow, high winds and treacherous waves can make the working condition extremely unsafe for those on board. 
  • Negligence/Mistakes - Mistakes happen in all workplaces, however in most workplaces these mistakes won't result in serious injury. Oil rigs are quite different, mistakes are rarely minor and can cost lives. 

Any of the above can lead to personal injury to yourself or other workers on the rig and preventive measures should be in place to avoid accidents. 

Common Health Issues On an Offshore Oil Rig

Offshore oil rig workers can suffer from a number of injuries ranging in severity from mild to life-threatening. Some of the more common accidents that occur on oil and gas platforms are as follows: 

  • Limb Injuries - The widespread use of cranes and other machinery mean that workers are at risk of amputations or crushing of their limbs. 
  • Toxic Fumes - Oil and gas release volatile and toxic fumes that can cause severe illness if left untouched. For those working on oil refineries, there are additional chemicals that can damage their health. 
  • Spinal Injuries - Large and heavy machinery are used on oil rigs and can be extremely hazardous for those working nearby. It is common for rig workers to climb high onto to cranes etc. and any falls from these heights can cause severe injury to the spine or neck. 

If You're Involved in an Accident

Oil and gas jobs are typically very well-paid, allowing you to become accustomed to a certain standard of living. The work is long and arduous, meaning you will be putting your body under considerable stress. You will be away from your family for long periods of time, whilst putting yourself in considerable danger, which may prove strenuous on your home life. 

So, if you're involved in a work-related accident, it can have a significant impact on your life. You may be missing out on an extensive wage packet to support yourself and your family, and you may have costly medical fees to pay if you are funding your own recovery. As such, it's important that you receive sound legal advice from a qualified oil field injury lawyer who understands the nature of such incidents and what can be done to help.