While the offshore industry generates millions of jobs, its workers are more prone to job-related accidents compared to other professions due to the nature of their work.
Common Offshore Accidents
Â· Calamity-related accidents
Natural calamities like storms, earthquakes, and floating icebergs can create hazards to oil platforms and ships which operate on high seas.
And while most companies from offshore industry (e.g., oil platform, cruise ship, cargo ship, etc.) are equipped with safety equipment that prevent accidents cause by natural calamities, injuries and deaths may still happen due to human error.
Â· Accidents caused by human error
Some cases of accidents happened because of human error or the negligence of the workers themselves.
Because working in an offshore industry has a high risk of accidents, workers regularly undergo safety training and they are required to follow strict procedures to prevent job-related accidents.
Â· Drilling accidents in oil platform
Drilling accidents, which are very common in oil platforms, are usually caused by blowouts or leaks of gaseous or liquid hydrocarbons from the well.
Aside from creating a job hazard, this type of accident also has a negative impact to the environment.
Laws that Cover Offshore Workers
Â· Maritime or Admiralty law
This is a set of laws which is applicable not just in the US but also in some parts of the world to protect the rights of seafarers and ship workers.
Â· Jones Act
Under this law, any worker who spends at least 30 percent of his time on a ship has the right to sue his employer or captain for accidents and injuries.
According to employment lawyers, Jones Act is designed to provide workers including sailors, oil platform workers, and helicopter pilots with monetary compensation if they get injured while doing their jobs on high seas.
Â· Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA)
In 1920, this law has been passed to provide compensation to widows of seamen who died in international waters.
But in 2000, DOHSA has been revised to allow the surviving family members of sailors to collect not just loss earnings but also compensation for "pain and suffering" caused by the death.
In addition, the amended law not only covers seamen but also workers from airplanes.
Â· Longshoreman and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA)
This law covers dock workers and protects their rights to receive medical benefits, compensation for wage losses, and coverage for rehabilitation therapy in case they have been injured while performing their job.