Accidents Abroad

Man suffers head injury on crew transfer boat in ‘most common type of accident’ for oil rig and platform workers

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Anne Thomson

Senior Litigation Executive

5 min read time
02 Aug 2021

A case in which a man suffered an offshore accident at work has highlighted the leading cause of injuries to oil rig and platform workers.

Our client, a 34-year-old man from Hull, was onboard a crew transfer vessel when it was approaching a wind turbine generator in Scottish waters.

The offshore accident at work occurred when the vessel struck the boat landing tube with force, as a result of which our client lurched violently forwards and his forehead hit the metal back of a front row seat.

Our client sustained a cut to his forehead – which led to subsequent scarring, a hard lump appeared, and he also experienced neck pain and headaches as a result of the ship accident in November 2018.

Because they were only about 20 miles off shore, he was then taken back to shore and to Caithness General Hospital in Wick, Scotland, where his injuries were assessed.

When he went back to work after three weeks, he still had a lump on his head and opted to wear a beanie to protect his head from the discomfort from his hard hat.

No win no fee accident at work claim alleged failures by company

Anne Thomson, Litigation Executive in the Travel team at Hudgell Solicitors, represented the man, who got in touch 10 days after the incident to start the process of making a no win no fee accident at work claim.

The allegations against his employer included failures on the part of the company over the safe transportation of our client, which exposed him to a foreseeable and unnecessary risk of sustaining an injury.

A breach of duty was admitted by the company and a significant four-figure settlement was successfully secured for our client.

Common rig accidents seen by our expert injury at work solicitors

Ms Thomson says her client’s case is a commonly occurring one for workers on rigs.

“The leading cause of accidents and fatalities for oil rig and platform workers is related to transportation,” she said.

“Workers must be transported to and from offshore rigs, and these trips can be dangerous and account for a significant number of accidents at work.

“We also see claims for accidents on the rig or platform itself.”

What type of workplace accidents occur on rigs?

  • Machinery: Oil rig or platform workers deal with heavy machinery every day. Workers can be struck by falling objects or crushed between equipment that is not properly secured or is incorrectly used by crew members, or when workers have not been properly trained in the safe use of equipment.
  • Fires and explosions: Blowouts, equipment failures and employee/employer negligence are common facts in fire and explosions on oil rigs or offshore platforms.
  • Exposure to harmful substances: Offshore oil rig workers can come into contact with a variety of potentially harmful substances, including crude oil, solvents, drilling fluids, and production chemicals. Workers who are exposed to toxic chemicals or fumes can experience respiratory problems, allergic reactions, rashes, chemical burns, and asphyxiation.
  • Falls, slips and trips: Falls, slips and trips from a higher level onto lower decks or into the ocean can lead to serious injuries or even death. Slip and fall accidents at work can happen when wet or oily substances are allowed to collect on floor surfaces, ladders or scaffolds are not properly secured, or when work areas are not properly inspected for potential hazards. Employers are responsible for maintaining a safe work environment, which includes making sure that floors are regularly cleaned, non-skid surfaces are used when appropriate, fall protection exists in the form of guardrails, handrails, or grating, and walkways are cleared to reduce tripping hazards.

What types of injuries are common after an accident at work on a rig?

Ms Thomson added: “The ultimate cause of these accidents at work may be bad weather, operator error, mechanical failures with equipment, fatigue caused by long working hours, or improper training of workers or lack of safety training and equipment.

“Whatever causes the accidents, the resulting injuries most often include those that may range from mild to severe and life-threatening or at worst to death.

“Weather can cause hypothermia or falls overboard, while accidents with equipment can lead to head injuries, neck injuries, shoulder injuries, lost limbs and amputations, cuts, and lacerations.

“Fires cause burns and respiratory illnesses. Exposure to chemicals can cause rashes and respiratory distress, as well as burns.

“Transportation accidents on boats that aren’t fatal, like this case we successfully made a claim for, may lead to broken bones, hypothermia, and back, neck, and head injuries.”

If you believe you may have a claim for a workplace accident on a rig or being transported to an offshore platform in a ship accident, then our expert injury at work solicitors and travel litigation specialists are on hand to give you free, no obligation advice. Click here to contact us today to find out more.

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Man suffers head injury on crew transfer boat in ‘most common type of accident’ for oil rig and platform workers

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