Oil rigs are an inherently dangerous working environment. Due to the nature of the operation and the combustible materials on the rig, following proper safety protocols is paramount in order to avoid catastrophic accidents like blowouts and explosions. While much of the safety focus is on the day-to-day operations, the most critical aspect is properly maintaining the equipment on the rig.
Why Proper Maintenance Is Critical
Proper maintenance of the oil rig and its equipment ensures that it is all working and functioning as designed, which limits and malfunctions that could potentially lead to a serious accident. If the company that owns and operates the oil rig fails to keep up with scheduled maintenance, it puts all of the rig workers in serious jeopardy.
A prime example of what can happen when equipment is not properly maintained is the 2005 Texas City refinery explosion. The explosion killed 15 workers and injured dozens more. An investigation by the Chemical Safety Board into the cause of the explosion determined that a primary culprit was a lack of preventive maintenance of several safety critical systems and the use of an outdated blowdown drum technology. The CSB also noted that the refinery's infrastructure was in poor condition.
Failing to Keep Up with Maintenance
Unfortunately, companies are all too often unmotivated to keep up with maintenance on the equipment and oil rig. Maintenance costs money and the company loses production during the time the rig is down for the maintenance to be performed. The combination of those two things provides an incentive for companies to skip or delay scheduled maintenance, even though it puts workers at risk. The sad truth is that many times, it takes an accident that causes the death or injury of a worker before the maintenance problems are addressed.
Discuss Your Case with an Oil Rig Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one was injured or killed in an oil rig accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Oil companies are responsible for ensuring that their workers are provided a safe working environment, which includes keeping up with scheduled maintenance to make sure the equipment is functioning properly. If a company failed to do so, it could be held fully or partially liable for the accident. At Arnold & Itkin, our attorneys have the knowledge and experience to launch an investigation into the cause of the accident and determine if the company failed in its obligation to provide a safe workplace. Contact our oil rig accident attorneys today for a free evaluation of your case.