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Handling Jack-Up Rig Accidents

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Working on a jack-up rig, offshore platform, and semi-submersible rig is dangerous work. Fires, explosions, swinging pipes and cables, and equipment failures can all cause serious injuries and deaths. If you or a loved one has been injured while working offshore on a jack-up rig, you may have a claim for damages under federal maritime law.

At Arnold & Itkin, we understand how overwhelming and challenging this time can be. That is why we are here to help. Call us now at (888) 346-5024 if you need counsel.

Are Jack-Up Rigs Safe?

Jack-up rigs are a particular kind of oil rig, which can be moved into place and held via legs extended to the sea floor. They are employed at sea level depths ranging from 50 to 300 feet deep. As of the end of 2013, there were over 500 jack-up rigs being used across the U.S. There are two main types of jack-up rigs in use: mobile offshore drilling units (MODU) and turbine installation vessels, used to install offshore wind turbines. The complex and delicate machinery used to keep jack up rigs stable must be closely monitored and maintained to prevent disasters. If the rig is not fully stabilized, it may shift on the water and cause equipment to fall on its surface, severely injuring workers.

In some cases, rigs have collapsed or exploded. In July of 2013, a jack up rig off the coast of Louisiana caught fire after the rig's blowout preventer failed to keep gas from building up. Fortunately, all crewmembers were safely evacuated, but the collapse of the rig led to further examination of safety procedures. Advances in the machinery used to keep the rig stable include several systems for controlling the platform's leg movements, including electronic control via motors with soft starters, variable speed drives (VSDs), and hydraulic-operated lifts. Many manufacturers are pushing VSDs as the safest, most efficient way to control the oil platform's movements.

The U.S. Code of Federal Regulations lists guidelines for the movements and installation of jack up rigs. Many other countries have followed suit in regulating these rigs, some even placing more stringent guidelines on the operation of the platforms. The stricter guidelines can include a requirement that all production and wells be stopped unless the platform is fully stabilized on the sea floor. Despite troubling events that call into question the safety of jack up rigs, continuous advancements in technology are helping to make them more stable. As with any oil rig, constant vigilance and maintenance are needed to ensure a safe rig, and any lapse in safety measures could lead to disaster.

Have You Been Injured on a Jack-Up Rig?

In less than a 10-year period, there have been more than 900 fires and explosions, 60 fatalities, and 1,548 injuries related to offshore production in the Gulf of Mexico. Many of these accidents could have been prevented if employers and operators had paid more attention to safety procedures and the protection of their workers.

Accidents and injuries can be caused by a range of different issues such as:

  • Equipment failures
  • Human error
  • Loss of well control
  • Slip and falls
  • Rig collapses
  • Collisions
  • Adverse weather

If you have been injured aboard a jack-up rig through the negligence of your employer or a third party, you may be entitled to compensation for lost past and future wages, pain and suffering, disfigurement, future medical expenses, and other costs. Many accidents are caused by a lack of emphasis on proper safety precautions, training, and other measures, placing workers in dangerous and perilous work conditions.

What Are Your Rights After These Types of Accidents?

In most cases, jack-up rigs and floating oil platforms are considered vessels in navigation, which means that they give injured workers certain rights under the Jones Act and general maritime law. Since these platforms and rigs are often moving from location to location, they are essentially viewed as a vessel.

This means that you can file certain claims that you may not have been able to file if the jack-up rig wasn’t deemed a vessel. For example, you can recover maintenance and cure, injury compensation, and much more. If negligence was involved, you will need the help of a seasoned maritime injury attorney to craft a strong claim.

The Threat of Accidents on Jack-Up Rigs

Working at an offshore location, you understand that the environment around you is continuously changing and can become life-threatening in a matter of moments. Any aspect of your jack-up rig, from the legs on the ocean floor to the cranes high overhead, can malfunction when improperly maintained and cause serious injury to workers.

If you have been injured due to the defective equipment on a jack-up rig, our firm is here to help.

As one of the most dangerous offshore accidents, jack-up rig accidents can become fatal if the proper safety response is not taken immediately. These types of mobile offshore oil platforms are held in place above the sea by legs that are stabilized by the ocean floor. Virtually any type of accident can occur to a worker on this type of rig, including a fall from a great height after the failure of a safety harness or a crushing injury from a falling object. The good news is that Arnold & Itkin is committed to protecting victim of these accidents.

What to Do After Your Accident: Call (888) 346-5024

When a person is injured in the open sea, their injury claim is subject to general maritime law and the Jones Act. As a seaman, the injured will have rights to pursue compensation for certain types of injuries sustained in a jack-up rig accident. Understanding your rights, legal options, and steps during this time can be overwhelming. That is why our offshore injury lawyers are here to guide you through the process.

Filing your offshore injury claim may be difficult, especially if your employer is attempting to refuse your claim. It is always crucial that you have the skilled assistance of a maritime attorney by your side.

Contact a maritime injury attorneY At Arnold & Itkin Now.

What is it Like To Work With Arnold & Itkin

Arnold & Itkin represented nearly a third of the crewmembers injured in the Deepwater Horizon explosion.

I encountered professionalism, understanding, compassion… lot of compassion. They really felt for what me and my wife were going through.
~ Deepwater Horizon Crew Member

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