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Offshore Oil and Gas Workers' Rights

Offshore oil and gas workers have dangerous jobs. The rate of injuries and fatalities among the workers in this field is substantially higher than it is for the general American work force. While not all of the dangers can be eliminated, offshore oil and gas workers do have certain rights which, if honored by their employers, could significantly decrease the injury and fatality rate among workers.

What Rights do Offshore Oil and Gas Workers Have?

Oil and gas workers have the right to fair working conditions. That means that their employers have the responsibility to maintain safe working conditions and not be negligent in the upkeep of their equipment or the treatment of their staff.

The owners and operators of offshore oil and gas rigs must comply with all legal regulations. Oil and gas rigs must be appropriately staffed and employees must be given the required breaks and shift rotations to guard against exhaustion and fatigue related accidents.

Equipment must be kept in good repair. Employees should not be hurt from broken equipment or equipment that is outdated or not appropriately inspected.

Finally, employers must be prepared for an emergency. Gas explosions are not uncommon on offshore oil and gas rigs. Each rig must have fire extinguishing equipment, life protection devices and other safety equipment to deal with the unexpected conditions of offshore oil and gas work.

What Laws Apply if Offshore Oil and Gas Workers are Injured?

While offshore oil and gas workers are entitled to compensation for their injuries, determining which law applies can be complex. Offshore oil and gas workers may be entitled to relief under one or more of the following laws depending on the circumstances of their accident, the location of their employment and their job duties: the Jones Act, General Maritime Law, the Longshore & Harbor Worker's Compensation Act, and the Outer Continental Shelf Land's Act.

Offshore oil and gas work is dangerous and while that danger cannot be completely eradicated, it should be minimized and employees should be able to recover damages if the negligence of their employers leads to an injury or fatality. A qualified maritime attorney can help you understand the differences between the laws and how the laws apply to your case. So, in order to file the appropriate claims and receive the damages to which you are entitled by law, it is important that you work closely with a maritime attorney in order to resolve any claims from an accident in the course of your employment as an offshore oil or gas worker.

Longshore & Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA)

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