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The true risk of working in the offshore industry

New Orleans residents are familiar with working in the offshore industry. A new study released in the wake of the deep water horizon accident confirms what many have known for years: working on an oil rig is dangerous. The potential for a fatal offshore accidents is seven times more likely to happen than in any other industry. One of the most interesting aspects of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study is not that the accidents occur, but how they occur.

The study spanned seven years covering from 2003 to 2010. The most dangerous part of the job for offshore workers is getting to the work site. Over 50 percent of the deaths occurred while workers were being transported to their job site. Of that percentage, 49 percent involved helicopters in the Gulf of Mexico. None of these accidents were due to inclement weather. The fatality collected from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Industries demonstrated that the fatality rate of offshore workers is seven times greater than for all U.S. workers.

To quell the fatality rate, researchers suggest including an industry adoption of operational guidelines that have been developed by the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers. These guidelines set a higher standard than that currently in use by the Federal Aviation Administration. In addition to these new rules, it is suggested that companies provide locator beams for pilots and life rafts be mounted outside the helicopters for use when needed.

This study is an important step in pinpointing the safety issues in the offshore industry. Ship owners are responsible for the safety of their workers. Any worker that has been injured during the course of their employment should seek both medical and legal assistance to ensure that full compensation is achieved for all of their injuries.

Source: www.nola.com, "Offshore workers 7 times more likely to die than any other worker in U.S., study says," Mark Schleifstein, 04-25-2013

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