Oil Rig Injury: How to Reduce Workers Deaths on the Job
Each year that magazines report the most dangerous jobs in the United States, jobs on oil rigs consistently rank near the top. This isn’t surprising: oil rig workers have to work 12 hour shifts on top of highly combustible chemicals, pulling that up through machinery that usually weighs over one-hundred pounds.
So what can be done to prevent deaths on an oil rig? As it turns out, this answer is still developing, but there are ways that can prevent deaths in these dangerous areas.
The first step that can be taken revolves around the workers. Maintaining workplace safety begins with workers and supervisors who are well educated and updated on the dangers of an oil rig. The more knowledgeable both are, the more careful they will be when operating on the oil rig.
And careful they need to be. Most of the reported deaths on oil rigs are gruesome, resulting from what the Department of Labor reports as “struck by” deaths. In other words, pipes falling, wires snapping, and parts exploding.
The next way to protect workers is the weather conditions. Most oil rigs are constructed of steel and other metal, metals that become slick in most conditions. This is compounded when the oil rig is out at sea (which is part of the reason the oil rig is constructed so high above the water). The responsibilities oil rig workers have become exponentially more dangerous in wet weather: either stopping work whenever it rains—which no company is willing to do—or ensuring that non-slick pads (such as those found in a kitchen) are laid down can save lives.
Another way that can prevent death on an oil rig is by training new oil rig workers that are unexperienced. The past few decades have seen an increased demand for oil from these oil rigs, calling for more workers, most of whom are not experienced. Proper training in workplace safety can prevent these rookies from killing themselves or others.
Finally, the last way that deaths can be prevented is through updating rigs. As the Department of Labor has made known through numerous reports, many of these oil rigs are outdated. Outdated rigs equal higher amounts of parts breaking down. Parts breaking down can break down in often violent or destructive ways, causing increased damage and risk of injury and death to the oil rig. Updating the rig is in the long term interest of the oil company: new rigs can provide more oil over a longer period.