Offshore InjuryBlog

Helicopter Accidents Kill the Most Offshore Workers

Offshore workers suffer from severe accidents at a disproportionate amount when compared to the rest of the American workforce. Those who work offshore face the risk of suffering from a fatal accident which is seven times higher than other industries in the United States. These accidents occur for several reasons. Two-thirds of all offshore worker deaths are in the oil and gas industry.

First, offshore workers in the energy sector work with toxic and flammable substances. They work with their dangerous product in an extreme environment and are often miles away from help. Compounding dangers for workers is the equipment they use—it’s heavy, and its failure could be catastrophic for the entire crew of a rig.

However, getting to work is the most dangerous aspect of an offshore worker’s job. A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that transportation accidents claimed the most offshore worker lives between 2003 and 2010.

What the CDC Study Found

The study found that the offshore industry has a fatality rate of 27.1 per 100,000 workers. This rate is drastically higher than the national average of 3.8 deaths per 100,000 workers at the time of the report. The report found that many offshore worker deaths occur before they even reach their platform. The CDC found that transportation accidents caused 65 of 128 deaths during the seven-year period. Of these accidents, 49 were helicopter accidents. So, getting to work claimed the lives of 51 percent of workers and helicopters were involved with 38 percent of all fatal accidents.

“Catastrophic events like the Deepwater Horizon explosion attract intense media attention, but do not account for the majority of work-related fatalities during offshore operations,” the CDC commented. “This report found that transportation events (specifically helicopter crashes) were the most frequent fatal event in this industry.”

What the Study Suggested to Fix Offshore Transportation Accidents

The CDC suggested that offshore companies could improve transportation safety through the adoption of guidelines from the International Association of Oil and FGas Producers. Guidelines from this association are more thorough than those produced by the Federal Aviation Administration. They suggest that pilots and passengers complete underwater escape training and wear life jackets while flying over water.

Other guidelines include the following:

  • Locator beacons for every person
  • Life rafts
  • Automatic flotation devices on helicopters

What Causes Offshore Helicopter Accidents?

Past reports have determined that mechanical failures and bad weather are the most common causes of helicopter accidents transporting workers. This suggests that basic maintenance and responsible flying would save a significant amount of lives. Companies should provide safety equipment on their helicopters, and they should be maintaining their aircraft to prevent it from being used. Additionally, they must ensure that workers are transported only when the weather permits.

If you or a loved one has suffered because of an offshore helicopter crash, answers are available for what happened. Arnold & Itkin has a history of holding the largest members of the offshore industry accountable for negligence. When a company neglects the safety of workers, we’re ready to fight for the compensation of damages caused by this carelessness. Call us today for help with your case. Our attorneys are prepared to hear your story and start building your claim for compensation.

Call right now for a free consultation with our offshore helicopter crash attorneys. Our team is ready to talk when you call us at (888) 346-5024.

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