We have gathered fatal offshore injury data you need to know if you work in the maritime industry. You undoubtedly know that there are many dangers and risks involved in offshore work, but do you know how many fatal injuries occur each year? Are you aware of the most common dangers and how to protect yourself? Read on to learn more and find out how to get help after an offshore injury.
Fatal Offshore Injury Data
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the oil and gas industry (onshore and offshore) fatality rate is seven times higher than all other industries in the United States. Among all workers and industries, the CDC estimates 3.8 fatalities out of every 100,000 workers, while in the oil and gas industry, the rate is 27.1 fatalities out of 100,000 workers.
In 2013, the CDC published a report highlighting the most dangerous aspects of the oil and gas industry. The report was compiled using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. Analyzing information from 2003-2010, the CDC found that there were 128 fatalities in the offshore oil and gas industry during that time. The breakdown of the cause of injuries included:
- Transportation-related injuries accounted for 51 percent of all fatal injuries reported. These injuries were sustained either during a transportation accident, or as a result, such as drowning. These events included:
- Aircraft-related injuries – 75 percent
- Transportation and material movement – 24 percent
- Contact with equipment or objects accounted for 16 percent of injuries.
- Explosions and fires accounted for 13 percent.
- Exposure to harmful environments or materials accounted for 13 percent.
- Poor weather conditions and power failure accounted for a small portion of fatalities with eight and seven fatalities respectively.
The most common employment titles reported in the report indicated particular dangers for the following:
- Well servicing – 49 percent
- Drilling contractors – 30 percent
- Oil and gas operators – 21 percent
- Transportation and material moving – 18 percent
Hidden Dangers in the Maritime Industry
It is important to understand what this offshore injury data really means. For example, transportation-related incidents accounted for the highest number of fatalities in the CDC report. However, the editors noted that the majority of these incidents were helicopter crashes, often caused by poor weather conditions, power failure, or mechanical defect. In addition to the trauma associated with a helicopter crash, several fatalities were attributed to drowning, rather than the accident itself.
Another example of a hidden danger could be in the locations where more fatal injuries occur. According to the CDC’s data, all but one of the fatalities studied between 2003 and 2010 occurred in the Gulf of Mexico. In 2009, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) implemented the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast technology (ADS-B) as a response to concerns over fatal injuries in the Gulf of Mexico. ADS-B is designed to transmit information via satellite to aircraft and controllers, including:
- Enhanced weather information
- Improved communications
- Flight tracking
- Traffic and terrain information
These improvements have gone a long way toward protecting maritime workers, transportation pilots, and other workers who are exposed to similar environments. Since implementation in 2009, no weather-related helicopter crashes resulting in fatalities have occurred in the oil and gas industry (as of 2012).
Protecting Yourself in the Maritime Industry
There is no question that the maritime industry, and specifically offshore oil and gas employment, is dangerous work. It is critical that you understand the nature of the work you will be doing, as well as any safety precautions and procedures your employment requires. Following safety guidelines in the maritime industry can literally save your life. Be aware of your environment and the potential injuries that you could sustain, and always take measures to protect yourself.
As an employee or contractor, your supervisor, employer, and the property owner have the responsibility of ensuring the safety of your workplace. In the maritime industry, that may include thorough assessments of all safety procedures, regular equipment maintenance, ensuring that lighting and fixtures are operating properly, and following the guidelines by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and applicable laws.
Getting Help after an Offshore Injury
If you have been injured while working offshore, or have lost a loved one in a maritime injury accident, you may have many questions about maritime law and your rights. As an employee, if you are injured while in the course of your employment, you may have the option of pursuing financial relief to help you cover the cost of medical expenses or lost wages. Further, if you have lost a loved one in a fatal offshore injury accident, you may have the right to pursue relief to help you cover funeral or medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other expenses you may incur.
To find out more about maritime law, your rights, and what options you may have to protect your rights and future, fill out our online form to schedule your free injury consultation. There is no question that you are facing a difficult time. You do not have to go it alone.