On March 11th, federal safety officials launched an investigation into the death of an oil rig worker in the Gulf of Mexico after the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement responded to a fatal injury report. According to NOLA.com, the platform is located about 150 miles off shore, south of New Orleans and is owned by Whistler Energy II. While the cause of this tragedy is still under investigation, Whistler’s chief operating officer reported it was not caused by an explosion and there is no environmental pollution reported in the area. That said, there is speculation as to whether this oil rig worker was properly trained.
Operators Who Do Not Properly Train Workers are Putting Workers at Risk
There are more than 4,000 oil rig platforms and exploration rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. Oil rig workers are given very arduous work and often little sleep, little instruction and, according to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOE), inadequate training. It is due to these difficult conditions that workers can be exposed to the following:
- Injuries caused by improper handling of chemicals and other dangerous substances
- Injuries sustained due to gas leaks
- Explosions and other combustible substances
- Faulty high pressure wells
- Lack of communication from other rig operators
- Malfunctioning equipment
Worse, many rig operators or owners choose not to report injuries to regulators or inspectors in order to receive bonuses for clean safety records. As it turns out, clean safety records also mean future contracts with other drilling companies.
In many instances, serious mistakes that lead to injuries on oil rigs can be avoided if operators focus less on profit and more on taking greater care in their hiring processes, providing better supervision to workers and giving workers the proper training they need to perform their jobs safely.