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What are the top causes of fatal offshore work incidents?

On Behalf of | May 22, 2023 | Offshore Injuries

Offshore workers working together during anchor handling job on a construction barge at oil field

Offshore work environments, including oil rigs, are incredibly dangerous. Workers are isolated and vulnerable in the event of extreme weather and typically have to work with dangerous machinery, as well as potentially deadly chemicals. Offshore work is some of the most dangerous, meaning that workers are more likely to die than employees occupied in land-based professions.

When people know the top causes of their risk on the job, they may have an easier time protecting themselves and identifying unsafe work conditions. These are the leading causes of offshore worker injuries, at present.

Transportation to and from the job is the biggest risk

More than half of the worker fatalities in the offshore oil and gas industry directly relate to transportation incidents. According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 51% of offshore oil worker deaths reported to the federal government occurred during transportation to or from a job site, typically by helicopter. Helicopters are efficient and fast, but if they have a system fail or encounter bad weather, they can also cause tragic crashes. Even though working at an offshore oil rig is very risky, the flights needed to get to work are actually more dangerous than that often-chaotic offshore environment.

Struck-by incidents are the second leading cause of death

Heavy machinery, industrial equipment and power tools are very dangerous for workers. Especially in environments with reduced personal mobility, limited visibility and loud noises, workers may have a hard time knowing when there are other people or heavy machines nearby. Struck-by incidents cause another 16% of the fatal workplace injuries that claim the lives of offshore oil and gas workers.

Other noted top causes included fires and explosions, which were at fault for 13% of the reported worker fatalities. Exposure to dangerous substances and environments was responsible for another 13% of worker deaths. Grieving families who are trying to figure out what to do next after a helicopter crash or similar offshore tragedy may benefit from seeking legal guidance to learn more about personal injury law and maritime employment regulations, so that they can determine the best course of action.