Archive for the ‘Drilling Rig Accidents’ Category

Oil Rig Accident in Western New York Kills 79-Year-Old Man

There are many dangers associated with working on or near oil rigs, including the potential for gas leaks, blow-outs, explosions, fires, chemical exposure and accidents with heavy equipment. One of the most deadly, however, may be a simple risk that is found on many work sites: the danger of falling objects.

An experienced oil rig accident lawyer in Louisiana understands the many risks faced by oil workers, including those shared with the construction industry, like the risk of fall injuries or accidents caused by falling objects.

The Dangers of Falling Objects on Oil Rigs

The danger of falling objects on oil rigs was clearly illustrated recently when a deadly accident in Andover, NY caused the death of a 79-year-old man at a Western New York oil well. The man was supervising a crew servicing a hydraulic well when the pulleys and cables on its mast snapped. The mast fell 40 feet, striking the 79-year-old. The Wall Street Journal reports that he died on the scene.

This was one of many incidents where falling objects put a worker at risk and across all industries in 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there were 233 workplace fatalities caused by workers being hit by falling objects. Falling objects are of particular concern on oil wells as well as on offshore drilling rigs where compliant towers and jack-up drilling rigs are frequently elevated at height.

Schramm’s Drill Rig Safety guide identifies the danger of falling objects as one of its top safety-related issues. Further, Chevron sees falling objects and dropped objects as such a danger that it has published a Dropped Objects Prevention guide. As this guide points out “even a small object falling from a height can cause serious or fatal injuries.”

Preventing Falling Object Injuries

To prevent falling object injuries, Schramm’s recommends:

  • Inspecting fasteners each month and replacing fasteners that are chronically loose with anti-vibration washers.
  • Tightening all overhead equipment to spec.
  • Inspecting all components of rotation drives, including pump drives, winches, fan drives and fan balance.
  • Inspecting all components of feed systems including sprockets, sheaves, chains and cables.
  • Exercising caution when raising the mast.

Chevron also offers suggestions for reducing the danger of dropped objects. These suggestions include:

  • Using secondary securing devices such as a secondary safety wire or safety net to secure components at their height if the primary securing method fails.
  • Creating a dropped objects work group at each site and developing an inspection program to identify and mitigate the potential for dropped objects.
  • Conducting regular hazard hunts to identify potential dangers.
  • Establishing and reviewing procedures for tubular components.

Ultimately, the responsibility of preventing injuries from falling objects lies with the workers on the rig every day as well as with employers in charge of taking steps to ensure proper training and a safe working environment.

If you or a loved one suffered a Gulf Coast maritime or offshore injury, contact the Law Offices of William Gee III at 1-800-488-5227 to speak to a Louisiana offshore accident lawyer.

Halliburton Receives First Citation for Workplace Safety Violation

Working on an offshore oil rig is labor intensive and can be very dangerous. In fact, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported, 120 workers in the oil and gas industry lost their lives due to on-the-job accidents in 2010. While the U.S. Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulate oil companies to try to ensure that workplaces are as safe as the nature of this deadly industry will allow, our Louisiana oil rig injury lawyers know that sometimes employers don’t follow regulations and don’t place a priority on the safety of workers or the public.

One company in particular, Halliburton, has come under fire in the press numerous times for allegedly risky business practices. The company’s ties to former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, concerns about Halliburton’s chemical emissions, claims that Halliburton overcharged the Pentagon, and even allegations of sexual assault by employees of Halliburton subsidiaries have all brought the company negative press.

However, with so much negative coverage of the oil company, it likely will come as a surprise that the company has just recently received its first ever citation from OSHA for workplace safety violations. Tragically, as the Dickinson Press reports, the workplace safety violations that Halliburton committed led to the death of a worker.

Workplace Injury and Oil Companies

Halliburton is one of the world’s largest companies and employs more than 10,000 people across 80 different countries. As a huge and extremely profitable company, Halliburton certainly has the resources to ensure that work sites are safe and that the company doesn’t put its employees or the public at risk.

Unfortunately, a release issued in July by the U.S. Department of Labor detailed “two serious safety violations,” which led to the death of a worker on an oil rig site north of Watford City, North Dakota. OHSA has a specific definition of what constitutes a serious safety violation. A serious safety violation is one that creates a “substantial probability” of death or serious harm as a result of conditions or hazards that the employer “knew or should have known” about.

The incident that prompted Halliburton to be cited for serious safety violations occurred when an employee was working on a hydraulic fracturing job. As he was working, a pipe from a high-pressure line dislodged. The man was hit in the head and killed as a result of the injuries that he sustained.

Following the investigation and the citation, the area director of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was quoted as saying: “The company failed in its responsibility to maintain a work site free from recognized safety hazards, such as struck-by hazards.”

Halliburton has been inspected 43 times throughout the United States since 2008, and yet this was the company’s first violation. Even one violation is too many, however, especially for a company that has been accused of being lax when it comes to public safety in the past. Workers have the right to a safe workplace and companies like Halliburton should be held responsible when they fail to take precautions to protect the lives and health of their workforce.

If you or a loved one suffered a Gulf Coast maritime or offshore injury, contact the Law Offices of William Gee III at 1-800-488-5227 to speak to a maritime accident attorney.

Breakaway Oil Rig Runs Aground, Raises Safety Concerns

On January 1, the New York Times reported on a Shell Oil offshore drilling rig that had run aground in the Gulf of Alaska.  The oil-rig had approximately 139,000 gallons of diesel fuel as well as another 12,000 gallons of hydraulic fluid and lubricating oil.

This new incident has exacerbated safety concerns about oilrigs in the Gulf of Alaska.  While no one was injured in this incident, the rig had to be disconnected from a towline keeping it in place in rough seas out of concerns for the safety of the crew. Salvage crews also had to work to attach a line to the rig and tow ship to remove the rig from the location where it was marooned.  These crews were all at risk in the choppy, cold waters in the Arctic and 18 workers aboard the rig had to be airlifted out on Coast Guard helicopters.

Offshore injury lawyers are concerned about the potential dangers to those involved in drilling operations in the Arctic and elsewhere. While any offshore oil rig can present risks, those in Alaska are in remote locations where it would be difficult for rescue crews to quickly gain access, especially in bad weather. Important safety measures need to be put in place and emergency operation plans perfected in order to protect crews involved in Alaska offshore drilling.

Breakaway Oil Rig Raises Concerns about Remote Location

The oil rig in the Gulf of Alaska, the Kulluk, ran aground a rocky coast of a remote uninhabited island called Sitkalidak. The incident occurred after prior efforts had been made to get the rig under control by reconnecting its towlines that had separated due to high winds and rough seas. Unfortunately, out of concern for the crew, the tow-lines at one point had to be disconnected. The towing ship for the rig also lost power during the bad weather and support ships had to be called in to reconnect the rig.

By January 7, however, the New York Times reported that the rig had been refloated and towed to safer water to be inspected.   Monitoring equipment indicated that there had been no discharge of pollutants, relieving concerns by environmental experts worried about the diverse species in the region.

Although the rig is now out of danger, a January 2nd article on Time Science & Space still raises some important points about the safety of offshore rigs in the Gulf of Alaska.

Time compared this incident to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which occurred in the Gulf of Mexico. In 2010, while the Deepwater Horizon was a terrible disaster, it occurred in a location that made it easy to respond to the spill.  Time reported that this was “like having a heart attack in the middle of a hospital,” since while the spill was bad, response time was very fast.

In Alaska, on the other hand, the area is very remote and it is much harder for rescue crews to get there quickly. This exacerbates the dangers of a potential oil spill and it also exacerbates the dangers to the crew aboard rigs in remote locations.

Unstable weather in the region is also cited as a cause for concern for Arctic drilling, and the dangers of both a remote location coupled with unpredictable winds and seas all come together to mean that workers’ on offshore rigs in this area may be more at risk than any other oilrig workers in the past. Safety measures must be in place to protect these workers from the risks that they face.

If you or a loved one suffered a maritime injury or have lost a relative in an offshore fatality, Call the Law Offices of William Gee III to speak to a maritime accident attorney at 1-800-488-5227 or contact us online today.

Gulf Oil Rig Accidents a Risk with Industry Growth

The Times Picayune is reporting Gulf oil production should soon exceed pre-spill levels — nearly two years after the drilling moratorium was lifted.

As our Louisiana maritime injury attorneys recently reported, offshore oil-rig accidents continue to be a leading cause of injuries at sea. Defective or warn machinery parts, overworked workers, improper safety precautions and gas leaks are all common causes of serious or fatal injuries. Postponing essential repairs or foregoing routine safety inspections or preventive maintenance may also lead to an accident.

Nearly two years after the White House lifted the moratorium on deepwater drilling, more permits for new wells have been issued than at any time since 2007. The U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement reported issuing 90 permits for wells in water deeper than 500 feet — more than the total number of permits issued in the last two years combined. Regulators permitted 106 wells in 2007.

In all, nearly 50 companies are now operating in the deepwater Gulf and more than $20 billion will be spent on deepwater projects in the next three years. The Mineral Management Service came under fire for lax oversight in the wake of the eruption of BPs Macondo. However, the agency is issuing assurances that companies successful in obtaining the new permits have demonstrated the ability to contain a subsea spill.

Since lifting the moratorium, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the Louisiana unemployment rate has declined from 8.1 to 7.3 percent. However, the outlook could improve significantly as these companies continue to ramp up operations. Unfortunately, as maritime employment increases in response to the increase in offshore drilling (which also increases employment in maritime transport and other support services), accident risks will increase as well. These companies must also be held to a high standard when it comes to keeping employees safe and free from injury on the job.

In fact, we should continue to see significant action on the supply side; Laborde Marine, for example, is considering construction of up to three platform supply vessels at a cost of $45 million each. The Morgan City boat builder say they each take about 18 months to complete.

An economist at Louisiana State University predicts the area will add 6,000 jobs over the next two years as the pace of permitting continues to increase. Gulf oil production from federal leases is also climbing. This July, 1.3 million gallons a day were produced, compared to 1.2 million gallons per day last year. Production peaked at 1.7 million gallons per day in 2007 before the spill.

The industry hopes to be back to 1.4 million gallons per day by the end of next year.

Reports indicate the limiting factor could be the number of available drilling rigs; some companies are stockpiling permits so they are ready to go as rigs become available, according to the American Petroleum Institute.

If you or a loved one suffered a Gulf Coast maritime injury or have lost a relative in an offshore fatality, Call the Law Offices of William Gee III to speak to a maritime accident attorney at 1-800-488-5227.

Offshore drilling in Gulf of Mexico resumes in deep ocean wells

Nearly two years after the worst oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, offshore drilling is thriving in the region. That’s because many oil companies are digging deeper for oil in the Gulf of Mexico than ever before. Most of these new wells tap into oil more than 2,000 feet below the surface. In one instance, a new deepwater well has been extracting oil at 9,627 feet below the surface of the Gulf.

Offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico helps satisfy our nation’s vital need for energy. Unfortunately, accidents happen, even at the safest drilling facilities. What would you do if you couldn’t work for weeks or months? How would you pay your bills? You need an experienced Louisiana maritime attorney in your corner. You need the Law Offices of William Gee III. Licensed in Louisiana and Texas, Attorney William Gee III has spent his career working tirelessly for people who need legal help. We want to work with you and help you decide the best course of action, including whether to file an offshore drilling injury lawsuit in Louisiana. Offshore drilling cases can quickly become complicated. Simply figuring out who’s responsible for compensating you for your injuries can be daunting. Allow us to cut through the red tape and get you the settlement you rightfully deserve. Contact an offshore attorney in Louisiana who fights for justice. Contact the Law Offices of William Gee III.

The offshore drilling rig accident in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010 captured the attention of the world. The explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig killed 11 workers, sparked the largest marine oil spill in U.S. history and resulted in a moratorium on drilling in the area. The moratorium was eventually lifted. Now, drilling in the Gulf is back in full force. “In the short term and the medium term, it’s clearly the Gulf of Mexico,” Matthais Bichsel, a Royal Dutch Shell PLC board member in charge of the company’s new projects and technology, told an Associated Press reporter.

Offshore drilling accidents can happen when you least expect them. Without warning, your family’s lives can be turned upside down. Don’t be caught off guard. Contact a knowledgeable offshore drilling attorney who thoroughly understands the law and will work hard to get your lives back on track. Contact the Law Offices of William Gee III – fighting for justice, one client at a time.

Governments prepare for Gulf of Mexico offshore drilling accident

How rescue workers respond to an emergency at an offshore drilling facility in the Gulf of Mexico can make all the difference. That’s why the U.S. Department of State and other government officials recently held a seminar focused on preparedness and response procedures related to the energy sector in the Gulf of Mexico region. Government representatives from the Caribbean, Latin America and the United States met to discuss a wide range of topics, including preventive regulatory frameworks, safety standards for floating production units and best practices in oil spill containment.

What would you do if you sustained a serious injury on an offshore drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico? What if you couldn’t work for weeks or months? What if your insurance company refused to cooperate? You need an experienced Louisiana maritime attorney on your side. You need the Law Offices of William Gee III. We want to work with you and help you decide the best course of action, including whether to file an offshore drilling injury lawsuit in Louisiana. We understand how complicated such cases can be, especially for people dealing with such a disaster for the first time. Allow us to put our knowledge to work for you. Contact an offshore attorney in Louisiana who puts people first. Contact the Law Offices of William Gee III.

The recent safety seminar was focused on increasing regional cooperation and joint planning of responses related to offshore units and marine pollution preparedness. Emphasis on safety measures is important since President Obama recently proposed the first new offshore oil drilling plan since the historic BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year. The plan includes leasing 12 areas for five years each (from 2012 through 2017) in the Gulf of Mexico.

Dealing with an offshore drilling injury personally or in the family can be frustrating and exhausting. Knowing what to do can be confusing. Allow us to help. At the Law Offices of William Gee III, we work tirelessly to get our clients the compensation they rightfully deserve.

The Law Offices of William Gee III – we’re on your side.

Common reasons for offshore oil rig accidents. Gulf of Mexico safe?

What are the main reasons for oil rig accidents? That is the topic of a recent article, focusing partly on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig accident (also known as the BP oil spill) that happened in April 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. Such accidents have deadly consequences and can affect the lives of millions of people who live and work near these disasters.

The article suggests several common reasons for oil rig accidents. One of the main reasons suggested by the author is negligent behavior. This can include poor maintenance or failure to follow proper safety measures. Offshore oil rigs are also vulnerable to natural disasters, another common reason for such accidents.

What would you do if you were injured in an offshore oil rig accident in the Gulf of Mexico? What if you couldn’t work for weeks or months afterwards? How would your family survive? You need a knowledgeable Louisiana maritime lawyer who thoroughly understands maritime law. You need the Law Offices of William Gee III. When you choose us, an experienced Louisiana oil rig accident attorney at our law firm will carefully examine the details associated with your accident. We then use this information to build a case with one goal in mind: to get you the compensation you rightfully deserve.

Examples of negligence which can lead to an oil rig accident include:

  • Failing to maintain safe pressure levels on an oil rig
  • Forgoing routine safety inspections
  • Postponing essential repairs discovered by crew members

Contact a Louisiana offshore drilling attorney who puts people first. Contact the Law Offices of William Gee III. We’re on your side.

Attention Louisiana! Changes possible in offshore oil drilling regulations

Regulations governing offshore oil rig accidents “are not set in stone,” reports The New Orleans Times-Picayune. This article was written in response to proposed federal regulations governing “spill prevention, containment, response and cleanup, and safety management systems.” The proposed regulations are being developed by the Ocean Energy Safety Advisory Committee, which plans to present them this fall to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Michael Bromwich, head of the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement.

Offshore oil drilling regulations change constantly. Keeping up with the latest developments can be extremely difficult. If you’ve been injured in an offshore drilling accident, you need a knowledgeable Louisiana maritime lawyer who thoroughly understands maritime law. You need the Law Offices of William Gee III. Having a Louisiana oil rig accident attorney who knows the latest state and federal laws could make all the difference in your case. With so much at stake, don’t leave your future to chance. Contact a Louisiana offshore drilling attorney who puts people first. Contact the Law Offices of William Gee III.

Bromwich offered some clues about what changes might be made to offshore oil drilling regulations. “We anticipate the advance notice of rulemaking will be extremely broad,” Bromwich said in an interview with the Times-Picayune. “It will contemplate a large body of possible improvements and enhancements to our current regulations including BOPs (blow-out preventers), which I’ve talked about many times, but I think that is only one example.”

Offshore oil drilling regulations change fast. Take the confusion out of your offshore oil rig accident case in the Gulf of Mexico. Go with a Louisiana professional who knows the rules. Choose Law Offices of William Gee III. We’re on your side.

Offshore drilling resuming in the Gulf, but at what cost to workers?

A year after the BP oil spill, drilling has resumed in the Gulf but very slowly, according to a recent article documenting the financial impact of the 2010 Gulf oil spill.

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig accident happened in April 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. That accident resulted in 11 dead workers, the largest marine oil spill in U.S. history and a ban on drilling in the Gulf.

Since the lifting of the ban, the government has issued 11 new deepwater and 49 shallow water drilling permits. While the number is less than usual, those in the industry who feared for their livelihood are certainly welcoming the opportunity to get back to work.

Of course, as the Deepwater Horizon oil rig accident illustrates, offshore workers face risks every day on the job. While oil and gas companies provide employment, they also must keep the workers reasonably safe from injury or death.

Injuries sustained in an offshore drilling rig accident demand serious attention. If you were injured, you need a determined maritime lawyer in Louisiana on your side. You need the Law Offices of William Gee III. An experienced offshore lawyer in Louisiana can give your case the attention it rightfully deserves. Our law firm has years of experience fighting for clients working offshore throughout the Gulf of Mexico.

As drilling resumes, there is concern that some oil and gas companies have not learned any lessons from the BP disaster. Michael Bromwich, who heads the Bureau of Ocean Management, Regulation and Enforcement, sees a disturbing trend. He said some oil and gas companies “have seemed all-too-ready to shrug off Deepwater Horizon as a complete aberration, a perfect storm, one in a million,” according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

The effects of the BP oil spill continue to reverberate in other ways as well one year later. The magnitude and health effects of Deepwater Horizon disaster remain unknown, according to a recent article in The New England Journal of Medicine. And the U.S. Department of the Interior may expand government oversight of offshore drilling rig contractors in an effort to prevent similar disasters in the future.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a maritime accident, take action today to find out about your rights. Contact an offshore attorney in Louisiana who thoroughly understands maritime law. Contact the Law Offices of William Gee III.

Dedicated, determined, driven to succeed – the Law Offices of William Gee III. We mean business!

Think the BP Oil Spill was the deadliest oil rig accident in history? Not even close

Think the BP Oil Spill was the deadliest oil rig accident in history? Not even close

Many people know about the Deepwater Horizon oil rig accident (also known as the BP oil spill) in the Gulf of Mexico last April. That accident resulted in 11 dead workers and the largest marine oil spill in U.S. history. But have you heard of Usumacinta? While this accident did not grab as many headlines, 22 people died in the aftermath of this horrific oil rig accident in the Gulf of Mexico.

On October 23, 2007, at just after 7 a.m., a mobile oil rig (known as a jack-up rig) named Usumacinta had recently moved to a new location in the Gulf of Mexico to drill for oil. That morning, high winds exceeding 62 miles per hour forced workers to cease drilling operations. Within hours, the Usumacinta began moving because its anchor had not been properly set. By 11:30 a.m., one of the wellheads began leaking oil and gas. The crew spent the next three hours attempting to stop the leak and close sub-surface storm valves. By 3:30 p.m., one of the storm valves had failed and highly-hazardous hydrogen sulfide was detected. Fifteen minutes later, at 3:45 p.m., all 73 workers evacuated the rig and boarded two life boats.

One lifeboat filled with water and capsized at 5:28 p.m. Fourteen minutes later, at 5:42 p.m., a large wave struck the other lifeboat, overturning the vessel. The result: 20 workers perished at sea. Another two people from a boat named Morrison Tide died attempting to rescue workers from the first capsized lifeboat.

The Usumacinta accident remains one of the 10 deadliest oil rig accidents in history. The deadliest remains the Piper Alpha Platform accident, which killed 167 people in 1988.

Offshore drill rig accidents happen every year on the water across the country. The International Association of Drilling Contractors reported 146 drilling accidents on U.S. waters in 2009.

Unique laws govern offshore drilling rigs. Understanding maritime law can be complicated. Even knowing where to file a complaint after such accidents can be confusing since multi-national corporations often operate such rigs. The Law Office of William Gee III can help. Based in Lafayette, Louisiana, attorney Gee has years of experience successfully defending clients in offshore maritime accidents.

An offshore drilling rig accident can change your life forever in an instant. This may be your only chance to seek justice. Contact William Gee III today. We fight tirelessly for our clients. Call (800) HURTLINE right now.