Those who work on oil and gas offshore drilling platforms certainly know how remote these places feel. It can take hours to get to the platform by boat or by helicopter. There aren’t many faster methods, as planes cannot land. Plus, weather conditions can make things even more difficult. If a storm comes up, it could be impossible to leave until the weather clears.
And all of that is just for platforms that are relatively close to the shore. Some are so far away that there are living quarters on ships kept near the platforms. Workers don’t even leave. They often stay on the ships or on the platforms, working for days on end and then taking long stretches of time off where they return to the shore.
Generally, when these topics come up, people are just discussing how secluded and demanding this job can be. But there’s another issue, as well: If someone is injured, how fast can they get to a medical center?
This is not just an offshore issue
The problem is that serious injuries have the best survival rates when people get prompt treatment. We’ve seen this in many other areas, as well. For instance, one analysis of why car accident fatality rates are so much higher in rural areas, as opposed to urban areas, noted that part of the issue was that those injured in more remove accidents had “less proximity to designated trauma centers following traumatic injuries.”
The same can certainly be true on drilling rigs and other offshore centers, such as a ship. If a worker is suffering from brain swelling after a head injury, for instance, quick medical care is needed before the swelling gets so severe that it leads to cell death. A worker who is always hours from the hospital, and who could be delayed by the weather, has much higher odds of these catastrophic results.
Injured workers must know their rights
In such a dangerous occupation, there is a lot at stake. Workers who do get injured must know how to proceed and what legal rights they have.