Offshore Platform Injury Statistics
According to the
U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA), offshore oil production in Gulf of Mexico was about 1.65 million
barrels/day in 2017 and accounted for 16% of all U.S. domestic oil production.
The EIA also reports that, in the same time period, natural gas production
in the Gulf of Mexico accounted for about 5% of U.S. domestic production.
Although there is offshore drilling and exploration in other areas, we
will restrict ourselves to such operations in the Gulf of Mexico.
On this page, the offshore injury lawyer at the
Doan Law Firm will review the most recent data on injuries occurring on offshore exploration
and drilling platforms and then offer suggestions as to how injured offshore
workers can protect their legal right to be compensated for their injuries.
In fiscal years (FY) 2012 to 2017, the EIA website reports that, on offshore
rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, there were:
- 10 fatalities, where death occurred either on an offshore rig or ashore
as a direct consequence of an injury received on an offshore rig
1,275 injuries, where the injured worker was evacuated from an offshore
rig for medical treatment
or in the injury resulted in one or more days away from work, restricted
work, or job transfer.
Note that, despite the low threshold for recording an injury, it can be
assumed that numerous "minor" injuries were treated aboard a
rig yet were not recorded by the EIA.
Although the EIA website does not give the cause of death or the mechanism
of injury, it does report that in the same period (FY 2012 - 2017) there were:
- 63 collisions with boats that were delivering supplies or personnel to
an offshore rig
- 647 fires / explosions
- 123 gas releases
- 125 "spills" of drilling chemicals
During the same period, there were 21 incidents where the work crew reported
that they had "lost control" of a well. Presumably, this means
that the on-rig crew did not have 100% control of a well's output
of crude oil or any gasses commonly encountered during drilling operations.
Workman's Compensation for Offshore Workers
Although offshore workers enjoy some of the highest wages in the country,
offshore workers are also exposed to a work environment that leads to
a higher risk of serious injury or death than are other workers.
As are their onshore brothers and sisters, offshore workers who are injured
on the job are covered by a Workman's Compensation program. For offshore
workers, their Workman's Compensation benefits are provided through
a provision contained in the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act of 1953
and its amendments. Offshore Workmen's Compensation benefit programs
are usually provided by a private insurance company under contract to
an employer. An employer may elect to "self-insure" and administer
the benefits itself. In either case, offshore benefits are monitored by
the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Workers' Compensation Programs.
In general, Workmen's Compensation benefits provided to offshore workers
are more generous than those available to non-maritime workers. Coverage
for offshore workers is essentially the same as that provided under the
Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA) and may include:
- 66.6% of the worker's average weekly wages
- medical expenses
- "reasonable" funeral expenses up to $3,000
- spousal support: If the deceased worker leaves behind a spouse, the spouse
will receive 50 % of the deceased's wages. If the spouse becomes remarries,
the spouse will receive two years' compensation in one sum, and then
the benefits will end
child support. If the deceased worker leaves behind a spouse
and children, each child will receive 16.6 % of the employee's wages.
If a child is left behind
and the worker wasn't married, then the child will receive 50 % of the
Please remember that although the information presented above was accurate
at the time this was written, it is also subject to change at any time.
For the most up-to-date information on this topic, you are advised to
contact a maritime personal injury lawyer.