A derrick is a type of crane commonly found in the offshore industry.
This lifting device has one major difference from a crane, which is that it appears as a tower rather than an arm attached to a device. Each derrick is made up of one tower controlled by lines. These lines are typically powered by motors that can move the pole in many different directions. Many derricks are placed on docks, while others are actually mounted onto vessels. The derricks that are outfitted onto vessels are called "floating derricks." The derricks used in the offshore industry are typically commissioned to load and unload cargo from vessels at port or at sea.
Some derricks are specifically designed to drill oil. An oil derrick can also be called a drilling rig. These types of derricks are incredibly complex, but they are designed to be a safe and efficient way to harvest crude oil from offshore wells. The lines of the derrick are attached to a drill which can be moved to various depths of sediment below the water. Also an important feature of oil derricks is their ability to control drilling pressure. If a drill bit moves too quickly, the workers risk breaking the bit and causing other serious problems.
Derrick workers typically rig the equipment and operate the pumps. Some are commissioned to repair pumps and others do maintenance on mud tanks. Others are responsible for inspecting the machinery to discover flaws. If any flaws are discovered, they should communicate to the maintenance crew so that the defects can be fixed. Some employees are hired to keep the derricks clean so that they can operate at maximum capacity. Others with more responsibility will have the job of supervising other workers.
If something goes wrong while performing derrick operations, the supervisor may face some of the responsibility. Most derrick workers must only have a high school education and will likely be required to participate in some on-the-job training. Those who work in more specialized fields in the industry will likely need to go through training or certification programs to gain employment. It is important for employers to make sure that only those employees with the proper training perform specialized tasks.
Employers that fail to screen or properly train their employees may become liable if those employees cause accidents or operating errors. Derricks are large machines that have the potential to cause serious damage and death. An accident in this field has the potential to be catastrophic.
Those who work with derricks in the offshore industry may be entitled to benefits under the Jones Act, provided they meet the requirements of the seaman status test. Those who do not meet the qualifications of the Jones Act will likely qualify for other types of benefits listed out in admiralty law. For example, the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act provides benefits to offshore workers and those in adjoining capacities who are injured on the job. An "adjoining capacity" can be something like working in a shipyard, loading and unloading cargo from vessels. To learn about what rights and benefits you might be entitled to as a derrick worker or a worker in a related occupation, contact Arnold & Itkin today. We are available to take inquiries and can advise you of your rights!
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