Stop Work Authority Policies: Safety Measure or Liability Protection Tool?
In recent years, the majority of offshore operators in the Gulf of Mexico have adopted a Stop Work Authority (SWA) policy. SWA gives every individual, no matter what their level of seniority, the responsibility and authority to stop work at any time if they notice an unsafe condition or act that could result in an undesirable event. But is this policy really meant to protect workers, or does it only protect employers from after-the fact litigation?
Oftentimes, exercising Stop Work Authority is impractical. Employees who try to follow this policy quickly gain a reputation as a trouble maker instead of being commended for pointing out a safety hazard. Some employees are even "run off" or fired. In this way, the average offshore worker is faced with an impossible catch 22 as a result of SWA: Stop unsafe activity and get on a supervisor's bad side or do nothing and face potential injury. The worst part is that if the worker does nothing and is injured because of unsafe conditions his or her employers can deny a claim based on the fact that he or she should have invoked SWA! Altogether, the supposed "right" seems to create nothing but bad options for offshore workers.
If you have been injured while working offshore, regardless of whether you employed Stop Work Authority to combat unsafe conditions, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Offshore laws can be very complex, so your best hope for reaching a successful resolution in your case is to contact an experienced maritime injury attorney. At Arnold & Itkin, an offshore injury lawyer from our team has extensive experience advocating for injured clients, and we have retrieved hundreds of millions of dollars on their behalf. If your injury claim is being denied because of Stop Work Authority or for any other reason, contact an offshore injury attorney from Arnold & Itkin today. We offer a free and confidential consultation that will help you determine your best course of action.