Offshore Work Is Getting More Dangerous
The Downtrend in Crane Safety
Crane safety is at its worst point in years. In 2015, the head of the federal offshore safety agency, Brian Salerno, revealed that crane incidents per installation have doubled over the last four years.
“No one wants to face the family of a worker who dies or is severely injured because we didn’t do our jobs correctly, or because we failed to recognize that the risks present on site were beyond acceptable bounds,” he said in 2015 shortly after the adoption of new crane safety rules.
Mr. Salerno also said, "Operating companies have the most direct control over the maintenance of their cranes and the qualification levels of the crane operators. It has to start there."
Evidently, it has not started there...or at all. The trend has gotten worse.
In February 2018, a safety alert—a document that reports drilling rig accidents and near-misses—revealed that 2017's lifting incident rate rose to 1 in 13.5 installations. That's the second-worst rate in 10 years.
Recent Lifting Accident Stories
In November of last year, a crane "popped" loudly and fell down the side of a rig. The fall punched a hole in the rig's fuel tank and spilled diesel in a 50-yard path 5 miles long. Moments earlier, the crane had been used to lift four workers from a supply ship to a drilling rig.
In December, a crane was lifting large, heavy pipes when a pipe fell 120 feet—barely missing workers on the ship below. That same month, a pipe-moving device killed a worker who was standing in the wrong spot by mistake.
Our own clients are among the many workers who have been hurt or killed by needlessly unsafe lifting operations offshore.
50 Inspectors Visited 40 Rigs in a Massive Blitz
In response to criticism (and to the crane accident report), the Interior Department sent out dozens of inspectors at once to conduct surprise inspections—specifically to look at giant cranes. What they found was deeply troubling: there were serious safety violations, some of them imminently life-threatening.
Ironically (but predictably), the New York Times found that several of the companies who were guilty of the most workplace safety violations were also the companies most loudly seeking the end of regulatory laws.
If you or a loved one were in a crane accident while working offshore, you're not alone. Arnold & Itkin has helped our clients win billions of dollars to help rebuild their lives and provide for their families after an accident. Some of our clients were crane accident survivors too—and our work helped them get the millions they needed to move forward.
Call (888) 346-5024 or fill out our short questionnaire to schedule a free consultation. Our team will get back to you shortly, and together we'll review your options.