Maintaining Offshore Walkway Safety by Prevention
You might think most offshore injuries occur as a result of dramatic explosions or terrible fires, but the truth is much simpler. The majority of injuries to offshore workers are a result of slips, trips, and falls. These accidents are simple to prevent, but require operating companies to diligently maintain the safety of their walkways.
Companies are legally responsible to keep walkways safe. They must remove any obstructions from pathways. Wires, cables, boxes, and equipment must be properly stored so they do not create unnecessary trip hazards. This may seem obvious, but it does not always happen. Kurt Arnold, an offshore accident attorney with Arnold & Itkin LLP, cites one case in particular as a prime example of companies' inability to keep workers safe. "A client of ours was walking on a narrow pathway through his rig's mudroom. He bumped into a jutting pad eye that was almost as tall as he was, severely injuring himself. We were able to prove that the pad eye was an unnecessary obstruction on the path; in fact, it had been complained about by several other workers previously, but the rig operators did nothing to correct the problem. Our client received a $2.5 million settlement."
Another simple step offshore companies can take to maintain safe work places is to prevent slips by keeping walkways dry. Again, this is not as simple to accomplish offshore as in a land-based operation. When you are on the water, you have to contend with ocean sprays that make surfaces slippery. Additionally, heavy machinery often leaks hydraulic fluid and other slippery liquids. Not only must operators constantly clean and dry walkways to prevent these hazards, they must also keep equipment in good repair to prevent further fuel leakage.
Another way to maintain walkway safety in offshore operations is to place non-skid surfacing on stairs and other walkways. Diamond plating is another simple way for companies to reduce the risk from slip hazards. But, again, operators don't always take the time. Jason Itkin recalls another client who was injured, "When he fell on slippery stairs that had not been properly treated. We were able to negotiate a nearly a $1 million settlement for our client to cover the cost of his medical treatments and lost wages."
Maintaining a safe walkway sounds like the easiest task imaginable, but with all the complicating factors at play in offshore locations, workers' safe passages are often compromised. If you have been injured in a fall as a result of a poorly maintained walkway, a skilled offshore injury attorney can help you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact an offshore injury attorney from Arnold & Itkin today for a free consultation regarding your case.