Pinch Points on an Oil Platform

by | Feb 12, 2024 | Firm News, Offshore accidents

Oil platforms represent an incredible achievement of human engineering. However, the complex machinery and tight spaces inherent to these facilities introduce significant safety risks, particularly pinch points.  Pinch points on oil platforms are areas in which workers or parts of their body can get caught or squeezed between moving parts of machinery, equipment and fixed objects.

Pinch points are present in various operations on an oil platform, from drilling equipment, rotating parts, and automated machinery to seemingly benign areas like hatches, doors, and storage areas. These points can cause injuries ranging from minor bruises to severe, life-altering injuries such as fractures, amputations, or even fatalities if body parts become trapped. The complexity and confined spaces of oil platforms, combined with harsh environmental conditions, exacerbate these risks. This makes it crucial to identify and address pinch points proactively.

The primary danger of pinch points is their potential to cause injury without warning. Workers may be unaware of a pinch point until an incident occurs, especially in high-traffic areas or where visibility is low. The use of heavy machinery and equipment, often operated remotely or automatically, increases the risk, as does the need for manual handling of materials in tight spaces. Injuries from pinch points not only affect the health and safety of workers but also impact operational efficiency, leading to downtime and financial losses.

There are many ways to mitigate pinch points and the associated danger, however, the first step is conducting a thorough risk assessment to identify potential danger zones. Educating workers about these risks and training them to recognize and avoid pinch points is critical. This includes instruction on the proper use of machinery, awareness of moving parts, and understanding the importance of personal protective equipment (PPE). Wherever possible, redesigning machinery or workspace layouts to eliminate pinch points can significantly reduce risks. Installing guards or barriers around moving parts, using safety devices like emergency stop buttons, and ensuring adequate lighting and visibility are also effective strategies.

While not a solution to eliminate hazards, PPE serves as a critical last line of defense against pinch point injuries. Gloves, safety goggles, and other protective gear should be selected based on the specific risks associated with each task and area on the platform. Further, ensuring that machinery and equipment are in good working order can prevent malfunctions that lead to pinch point incidents. Regular inspections and maintenance should be part of a comprehensive safety program, along with protocols for reporting and addressing potential hazards promptly. Finally, clearly marking hazardous areas and pinch points can alert workers to potential dangers. Signage and floor markings should be used to designate safe pathways and remind personnel of the need to exercise caution.

Even though mitigating pinch points is relatively cheap and easy to do, many offshore companies still fail to complete this basic task. When this happens, workers can suffer injuries, or even worse, death due to pinch points. The owners and operators of oil platforms owe a duty to their employees and contractors to ensure that they are working in a safe environment. If the owners and operators of a platform fail to perform this duty, accidents may occur. If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in a workplace accident, it is important to contact a lawyer to discuss your legal options. A lawyer can help you investigate the accident to determine who was responsible and what safety measures were in place. They can also help pursue compensation for your injuries or the loss of your loved one.

Our experienced lawyers handle maritime personal injury and wrongful death litigation of all kinds 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 a maritime accident. The lawyers of Spagnoletti Law Firm have handled maritime lawsuits throughout the country.

The experienced and aggressive vessel accident attorneys at Spagnoletti Law Firm can help you understand your rights if you or a loved one was a victim of an accident on an oil platform. There are strict and short time limits on making claims related to maritime injuries, so please contact us online or call 713-804-9306 or to learn more about your rights.