What is an offshore accident?
What are the different types of offshore accidents?
What are the important elements that you must know!
In this article, we will break down the legal definition of “offshore accident”, so you know all there is to know about it!
Keep reading as we have gathered exactly the information that you need!
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What is an offshore accident
An offshore accident is a type of accident that occurs to a person working in an offshore setting such as:
- Oil rigs
- Offshore platforms
- Jack-up rigs
- Drilling rigs
- Offshore rigs
- Natural gas wells
Maritime jobs and workers are the individuals that are at risk of offshore accidents as they operate in harsh climates and in dangerous environments.
An offshore accident can happen for many reasons, such as:
- Human error
- Unseaworthy vessel
- Faulty equipment
- Lack of safety measures
- Unsafe work environments
- Poorly maintained equipment
Working offshore can be extremely rewarding but can also be very risky for the seamen and workers involved.
Offshore accident definition
An offshore accident is a type of accident that occurs on navigable waters, on vessels, platforms, rights or other structures off of the seashores.
These types of accidents range in severity from minor accidents to fatal ones.
Since offshore vessels operate in harsh environments, offshore workers or maritime employees are the most prone to suffering offshore accidents.
Types of offshore accidents
The most common types of offshore accidents are:
- Barge accidents
- Tugboat accidents
- Falling objects
- Slip and fall
- Trips and falls overboard
- Extreme temperature exposure
- Chemical exposure
- Toxic materials
- Weather exposure
- Poor safety and training
- Workers struck by equipment
- Blowout incidents
- Deck accidents
- Oil rig fire
Types of injuries suffered
What types of injuries can you suffer due to an offshore accident?
Here are some of the most common types of offshore maritime injuries:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Brain injuries
- Head injuries
- Broken bones
- Crushed limbs
- Lung damage
Preventing offshore accidents
Companies operating offshore, generally in the oil and gas industry, can take measures to prevent offshore accidents from happening in the first place.
Here are some measures that companies and employers can implement to prevent offshore accidents:
- Ensure all personnel, employees and contractors working offshore or on an offshore vessel are trained on safety measures
- Provide detailed safety instructions to all maritime workers
- Actively enforce offshore safety rules and standards
- Ensure offshore personnel and seamen are cycled regularly to prevent burnouts and mistakes
- Provide all offshore employees with proper work gear such as safety glasses, gloves and hats
- Ensure all equipment on offshore vessels are well-maintained
The Piper Alpha disaster in the North Sea of UK of July 1988 is considered to be one of the worst offshore accident in history where 167 people lost their lives.
The Piper disaster occurred as a result of leakage of gas from one of the condensate pipes resulting from poor communication between the crew members on the standard maintenance of the condensate-injection pump.
Offshore incident statistics
The Bureau of Safety and Environment Enforcement (BSEE) is an agency established in 2011 in the United States in charge of improving safety in the offshore energy industry such as in oil and gas.
The Bureau has been given important powers to exercise its powers such as:
- Ability to investigate offshore accidents
- Inspect offshore facilities and vessels
- Summon witnesses to produce evidence
- Issue penalties
- Suspend or cancel offshore activities
The Bureau is enforcement powers for all offshore activities on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) of the United States.
The BSEE also publishes offshore incident statistics to provide disclosure as to fatalities, injuries or other incidents occurring in offshore activities.
This agency is under the United States Department of the Interior (formerly under the Minerals Management Service).
Compensation for injuries
Maritime workers, employees and personnel who suffer personal injuries as a result of an offshore accident may retain the services of an offshore accident attorney or offshore injury lawyer to get compensation for the damages suffered.
There are three possible legal regimes that may apply to offshore accidents causing bodily damages or harm:
- General maritime law
- Jones Act
- Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (Longshore Act or LHWCA)
The Jones Act applies to seamen working on mobile vessels giving them the right to file a claim against the captains, ship owners or crew members if the injuries were caused due to negligence or the support or mobile vessel was unseaworthy.
The Longshore Act is a statutory workers’ compensation scheme providing protection to employees injured on navigable waters in the United States.
Workers on stationary rights and wells are covered by their state workers compensation plans or the Longshore Act enacted by the federal government.
The Longshore Act provides protection for occupational injury or occupational diseases contracted by employees injured on navigable waters.
What does offshore accident mean?
What type of accident are offshore accidents?
Let’s look at a summary of our findings.
Related legal terms and concepts
If you enjoyed this article on offshore accidents, we recommend you look into the following legal terms and concepts. Enjoy!