Most people do not look at their workplace as a place where they face serious injuries or death every day. There are jobs that include health and safety risks for workers.
When most studies list the most dangerous jobs in America, they often come up with the same list. Military service, Truck driving, construct work and farming usually top the list. Yet the dangers of working on America’s oil and gas rigs miles off the coast are often overlooked.
Those jobs include dangerous conditions. Workers are surrounded by heavy machinery and combustible materials.
The dangers go beyond those usually found in regular construction work
The nature of the work itself carries inherent risk. Workers can be hundreds of miles off the coast. Accidents and explosions happen. A nine-year study by the U.S. Department of Labor reported over 1,500 deaths on the rigs. That is about the same number of people killed in action in Afghanistan during the same period.
Employers take extra measures, but that is not always enough to protect workers. Because of the conditions, accidents can be catastrophic. They can also be worse when companies ignore their own policies.
Ignored citations are serious
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued almost 11,000 citations over a 10-year period. Over half were called serious. That means OSHA believes those violations could cause serious injuries and death.
OSHA said many of those companies repeated their violations. They disregarded the violations. When safety measures are not taken seriously, workers face greater danger. There are risks for offshore workers on the gas and oil rigs. Yet extraction companies owe employees a reasonable amount of safety.