Offshore drilling for gas and oil is one of the most dangerous professions in America. Oil rig accidents involving explosions, fires, and other catastrophes continue to plague workers and their families nationwide. In North Carolina, South Carolina and throughout the Southeast region families will send their loved ones to work on oil rigs for weeks and months at a time. In the event of a fatal explosion or accident, many of these workers will never return.
In 2008, there were 120 workers killed in the oil and gas industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Workers in the oil industry are at risk because of their long hours and routine work with combustible materials. The oil rig workers also perform their duties on a platform with heavy equipment, including cranes, are constantly swaying overhead. Our Charleston workers' compensation attorneys are experienced in complex claims involving large companies and employers who violate safety measures.
The oil rig industry is regulated by the U.S. Department of Labor and OSHA to ensure safety compliance and workers safety. In a statement released earlier this month, serious safety violations were levied against Halliburton in relation to an accident that caused the death of a worker last January. According to reports, a worker died as a result of injuries he suffered when a high-pressure pipeline dislodged from the ground and struck him in the head.
This month, the oil industry giant Halliburton was cited for workplace safety violations for the first time in the company's history. Halliburton is a Houston-based multinational company that provides supplies, products and services to the oil and gas industry. According to reports, the company has not been previously cited for any OSHA violations. Authorities indicated that the company failed to maintain a safe worksite and violated known regulations. These violations produced significant safety hazards, which ultimately resulted in the death of a worker.
Serious violations occur when OSHA finds a "substantial probability that death or serious harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known," according to regulations. After a company is fined by OSHA, they have 15 business days to respond to the request. Companies can contest the findings before the OSHA commission. If Halliburton does not contest the violations or if the company fails to succeed in challenging the fine, it will be liable for $7,000 for each violation.
It is a hazardous business, however, companies and employers are responsible for ensuring the safety of workers. In the event of a violation, these companies can be fined or held liable. Workers injured on the job and families of workers killed on the job are entitled to compensation to cover medical costs and lost wages. In the event of an oil rig accident or injury, victims or their loved ones should contact an experienced workers' compensation advocate who can investigate the case and determine who was at fault for the accident. In addition to workers' compensation, workers and their loved ones may be able to bring third-party claims.