In a presentation made to investors on Wednesday, oil company Total announced a death on a drill ship that was contracted to the company to perform work. A contractor on the drilling rig the Pacific Khamsin tragically lost his life on August 23, 2020. At the time, the rig was performing work for Total in the Gulf of Mexico. The 37 year old was injured while the rig was being prepared to be moved due to the approaching Hurricane Laura. Further details have not yet been released regarding the death of this offshore worker. The incident will be investigated by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) to determine the root cause of the incident.
The Pacific Khamsin is owned by Houston-based Pacific Drilling. The registered owner of the rig is identified as Pacific Drilling V Ltd, and it is operated by Pacific Drilling Operations.
Tragically, this is not the first death to occur on a Pacific Drilling rig ship. A worker on Pacific Drilling’s Pacific Santa Ana lost his life on October 20, 2015 when the vessel was offshore the coast of Louisiana. In that incident, the worker was struck in the head by a piece of drilling pipe. BSEE released a report following its investigation of that incident, finding there was insufficient supervision over an employee and a failure to recognize risks associated with an operation.
It is the conclusion of the panel that the multiple tasks assigned to the victim required that he enter the setback area. His inexperience and lack of consistent training about when it was permissible to enter the setback area may have contributed to the victim’s decision to step in when he did.
The Panel also concluded that the assignment of additional tasks to the victim was made without consideration as to how those tasks contributed to risk. None of the tasks were listed on the TRA prepared before the operation began.
The victim was also performing all of his duties out of the direct view of supervisors or other more experienced co-workers. Despite being his first day in the new position, there was no follow up or observation made to determine if he was performing the tasks in a safe manner.
It can be dangerous to work in any industry when safety considerations related to dangerous weather conditions are not made. This is especially so on an offshore platform or drill rig. Safe oil companies must account for dangerous weather conditions, to prevent catastrophic incidents from occurring. Offshore drilling rigs are a dangerous environment, requiring extra safety precautions. It is unclear if the operations being performed were rushed due to the impending hurricane, or if the worker lacked the necessary experience to perform his tasks safely. In either event, it was the responsibility of Total and Pacific Drilling to provide oversight and training that could have prevented this worker’s death.
Spagnoletti Law Firm has handled numerous offshore platform and drilling rig lawsuits throughout the country on behalf of injured workers from all over the world. Our lawyers have extensive experience in offshore personal injury and wrongful death litigation and the skills needed to represent the families of loved ones who have lost their lives or those who have been seriously injured as a result of the negligence of another party.