What Benefits Can Injured Oil Rig Workers Receive Under OCSLA?

The Gulf is host to some of the world’s richest oil fields, and Houston is home to thousands of the men and women who work there. Oil rig work is dangerous—arguably one of the most dangerous industries to work in—and if you work in the field, it is critical that you know your rights and coverage in case you are injured at work.

Because of the enormous risk that maritime workers face on a daily basis, people in this field are covered by special laws that are similar to workers’ compensation, but usually offer better benefits than their land-based counterpart.

Oil Rig Workers: What Laws Keep Them Covered?

Oil rig work does not neatly fit into the two primary maritime coverage areas, aimed at seamen and longshore workers, so they are covered by the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA). OCSLA is an extension of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA), and offers many of the same coverage benefits.

If you are injured on the job as an oil rig worker, the benefits that you are eligible to receive are very similar to standard workers’ compensation benefits. OCSLA benefits for injured workers are divided into four primary categories:

  • Medical Benefits. Your medical benefit coverage under OCSLA will cover all medical costs necessary to recover from your workplace injury, including surgeries, doctor’s visits, physical therapy, and prescription medication. Similar to regular workers’ compensation rules, you will need to ensure that the doctor who treats you is authorized to administer treatment under the LHWCA and OCSLA. You should have many options to choose from in Houston, as oil rig and longshore work is very common.
  • Death Benefits and Burial Costs. Should you be killed while at work or as a result of work-related injuries, OCSLA will pay death benefits to either your surviving spouse and children (if you are married) or another eligible survivor if you are single.
  • Disability Benefits. Whether your injury has left you fully or partially disabled, you will be eligible to receive disability payments every two weeks. The amount and longevity of your payment will be calculated based on the severity of your disability and your ability to return to work in full capacity.
  • Occupational Rehabilitation Benefits. A unique benefit available to oil rig workers that have been injured and will be unable to return to their old job is employment rehabilitation through the Department of Labor. This allows you to receive employment counseling as well as placement and retraining in a new position.

If you have questions about your rights and benefits as an injured oil rig worker, our firm is happy to speak with you. Simply call our Houston office, or reach out to us now by clicking on the live chat feature.

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