Compensating Injured Oil Rig Workers From Ship to Shore
Working on an oil rig in the middle of an ocean is treacherous work. In addition to handling combustible materials day-in and day-out, rig workers must also contend with the most dangerous foe of all: Mother Nature. Unpredictable dangers (storms, strong winds, and overpowering tides) can quickly sneak up on a rig and its crew, placing everyone aboard at risk. In short, crews on offshore oil rigs face more accident dangers on a single day than workers in nearly any other profession face in a week.
Protective Measures: LHWCA and OCSLA
As with any other job, rig workers are eligible for workers’ compensation for any injuries sustained while on the job. However, since these types of rigs are located on the water, instead of basic workers’ comp coverage, offshore workers are protected by the system of maritime law coverage.
- LHWCA. The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act provides compensation coverage for individuals who sustain injuries while working within the navigable waters of the United States. For the purpose of the act, any adjoining area (pier, wharf, dry dock, loading zone, etc.) that can be considered part of the working environment is subject to coverage, if the worker sustains injury in that area as a result of work duties.
- OCSLA. The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act is an extension of the LHWCA that provides coverage for oil rig workers. Oil rig workers neither qualified as seamen nor longshore workers, which technically made them ineligible for LHWCA. However, the OCSLA amendment specifically states that men and women who work on offshore rigs will be eligible for coverage similar to standard workers’ compensation. In fact, under OCSLA, the compensation will be greater than standard: it offers injured workers or families of killed workers coverage for temporary or permanent disabilities and employment rehabilitation and training in addition to the standard medical and burial costs.
Protecting Those Who Deserve It Most
For the men and women who risk their lives at work daily in an effort to develop the vast natural resources on the outer continental shelf, a truly comprehensive plan to cover workplace injuries is necessary. If you have been injured while working on the outer continental shelf, you deserve the full benefits that OCSLA affords you.
To take advantage of your OCSLA benefits following an oil rig injury, contact an experienced offshore injury attorney today. Click on the live chat feature to connect with attorney Steve Lee, and see how he can make sure your rights stay afloat in a sea of insurance uncertainties.