Top 8 Safety Violations in Oil Rigs and Legal Actions Houston Oil Rig Accident Lawyers Can Pursue on Your Behalf


Working on an oil rig can be a dangerous job. Despite safety regulations, accidents still happen more often than they should. If you've been injured in an oil rig accident, it was likely caused by one or more safety violations. Houston oil rig accident lawyers can help you determine if your accident was caused by violations and pursue legal action on your behalf.

In this blog post, we'll go over the top 8 safety violations that commonly lead to oil rig accidents. We'll also discuss how an experienced Houston oil rig accident lawyer can build a strong case to help you recover damages.


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Oil Rig Safety Regulations

The oil and gas industry is regulated by both federal and state laws and regulations. These are designed to minimize dangers and prevent accidents and injuries.

Some of the key regulations include:

  1. OSHA: The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration sets nationwide oil rig safety standards. This includes required training, protective equipment, exposure limits for hazardous chemicals, and accident investigation and reporting.
  2. Coast Guard: The types of equipment deployed in oilfield operations are closely scrutinized. Older or less-maintained equipment may pose higher risks of malfunction or failure. Conversely, modern, well-maintained machinery can reduce the likelihood of accidents.
  3. Safety Protocols: For offshore oil rigs, the U.S. Coast Guard regulates key aspects of safety and accident response.
  4. State regulations: States like Texas have their own oil rig safety requirements that rig operators must comply with.

When oil rig operators violate these regulations, they expose workers to serious and even fatal hazards.


Top 8 Safety Violations on Oil Rigs

Unfortunately, violations of safety laws and regulations are all too common on oil rigs. Let's take a look at 8 of the most common violations and how they endanger workers:


1. Inadequate Training

Proper training on safety policies, procedures, equipment operation, and hazard identification is essential. However, many oil companies fail to provide adequate hands-on training to new rig workers. They may also fail to provide refresher training for more experienced employees. This lack of training is irresponsible and illegal. It often contributes to accidents and injuries.


2. Inadequate Protective Equipment

Personal protective equipment (PPE) like hard hats, safety goggles, respirators, and flame-resistant coveralls help prevent injuries. However, oil companies don't always provide enough of the right protective gear. They may also fail to enforce strict PPE rules. This kind of neglect is a major safety violation.


3. Failure to Decontaminate

Exposure to hazardous chemicals used in drilling is a health risk. Oil companies are required to provide proper protective gear and decontamination facilities. Violations of decontamination rules put workers in danger of toxic exposures and chemical burns.


4. Bypassing Safety Systems

Modern oil rigs have automated safety systems to prevent blowouts and other disasters. However, some companies encourage or allow workers to bypass these systems to speed up operations. This recklessness often has fatal consequences.


5. Permitted Use of Unsafe Equipment

Oil rigs utilize massive, complex machinery that can easily maim or kill if misused. Companies are responsible for maintaining equipment in safe condition and prohibiting the use of unsafe, damaged equipment that should be taken out of service. Allowing the use of cranes, drill pipes, or other equipment that is defective leads to catastrophic accidents.


6. Inadequate Maintenance & Inspections

Frequent, thorough inspections of equipment, work areas, and safety systems are crucial. However, violations of maintenance and inspection requirements are widespread. Failure to identify and fix hazards results in dangerous breakdowns and accidents.


7. Improper Platform and Rig Design

In addition to the upkeep of existing equipment, oil companies must ensure that rig and platform designs are inherently safe. However, rules regarding platform stability, blast walls, escape routes, and fire suppression are frequently ignored putting everyone at risk.


8. Failure to Shut Down Unsafe Operations

When extremely hazardous conditions develop, regulations require a shutdown. But companies often keep oil rigs running in even the worst weather and highest risks. This recklessly endangers workers just to maintain production and profits.
This list of the top safety violations provides some context on how oil rig accidents occur. Generally, corporate negligence and misconduct often play a major role.


Establishing Negligence and Liability After an Oil Rig Accident

If you or a loved one has been harmed in an oil rig accident, it's understandable to feel overwhelmed. You'll have medical bills, lost income, emotional trauma, and disruption to your life. An experienced Houston oil rig accident lawyer can handle the legal complexities for you while you focus on recovery.

Zehl & Associates Houston oil rig accident lawyers have extensive resources to investigate what led to the incident. This includes conducting detailed interviews of employees and witnesses, inspecting equipment and the accident location, reviewing documents like maintenance logs and safety audits, hiring experts to assess violations, and more. The evidence gathered can help establish:

  • Which regulations and safety standards were violated
  • Who was responsible for the violations - supervisors, safety managers, company executives, etc.
  • How the violations directly contributed to the accident
  • How management-level decisions like cost-cutting increased risks
  • Prior warning signs like previous citations or employee complaints that were ignored

Based on their legal expertise and thorough evidence, your lawyer will build a strong liability case against the parties responsible. This lays the groundwork for recovering maximum financial compensation under the law.


Damages You Can Recover After an Oil Rig Injury

Severe injuries from oil rig accidents often cause considerable financial losses. With an oil rig lawyer's help, you can pursue compensation through a personal injury lawsuit, workers' compensation claim, or settlement negotiation. Common damages available include:

  • Medical expenses - Any health care costs related to the accident from the initial emergency treatment through long-term rehab.
  • Lost wages - If injuries cause you to miss work for a period of time, you can likely recover your lost income. This also accounts for reduced future earning capacity if disabilities are permanent.
  • Pain and suffering - You can pursue compensation for emotional trauma and physical pain stemming from the injuries.
  • Wrongful death - If a family member died in an oil rig accident, you may file a wrongful death lawsuit to cover burial costs, loss of companionship, lost future earnings, and other fatal damages.
  • Punitive damages - If negligence was truly egregious, punitive damages that punish and deter the company may be awarded on top of compensation for losses.

The total value of your oil rig accident claim can easily add up to millions based on the severity of your injuries, length of disability, and extent of liability.

An experienced Houston oil rig accident lawyer will fight to prove every penny you deserve. This provides protection and peace of mind when you need it most.


Why Choose a Houston Oil Rig Injury Lawyer?

Pursuing compensation after an oil rig accident may feel intimidating. But you don't need to handle it on your own. A Houston oil rig injury lawyer can provide skilled legal counsel and take care of the entire claims process for you.

Here are some of the key benefits of choosing a local attorney:

  • Deep knowledge of regional laws and regulations - They understand the specific safety codes, responsible regulators, legal precedence in Houston courts, and other regional issues that factor into your case.
  • Experience investigating local oil rig hazards - They know which safety vulnerabilities are common at Houston-area rigs and can quickly pinpoint violations specific companies commit.
  • Existing relationships with local experts - They've worked with Houston-based investigators, occupational safety specialists, equipment forensic analysts, and medical experts who can strengthen your case.
  • Familiarity with major regional oil companies - They've handled many cases against local operators and producers and know their history of violations and prior lawsuits.
  • Better access to local evidence and witnesses - They can travel to inspect local sites and meet with Houston-based witnesses face-to-face to build a stronger case.
  • Direct partnership with Houston legal system - Local lawyers have close connections with Houston courts, Judges, and litigation processes that improve outcomes for clients.

When you're facing extreme hardships after an oil rig accident, leveraging this type of extensive local experience and expertise provides a powerful advantage.

Let a Houston Oil Rig Accident Lawyer Fight For the Justice You Deserve

Living with injuries suffered in a preventable oil rig accident is hard enough without having to fight big companies just to cover costs. By hiring an accomplished local lawyer, you can focus on recovery while confident your legal rights are protected. They have the skills and determination to build the strongest possible negligence case against those responsible and maximize the damages you're owed under the law.

Don't wait to consult an attorney after being hurt in an oil rig incident. Strict filing deadlines apply for injury lawsuits and workers comp claims in Texas. The sooner you have expert legal counsel on your side, the better. Call today for a free consultation and see how a top Houston oil rig accident lawyer can help.

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