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The Dangers of Rig Explosions in The Oil Industry

oil rig explosion

The Gulf of Mexico is home to thousands of active platforms for oil and gas, along with a wide range of rigs, pipelines, and supply ships. This infrastructure is vital to the region’s thriving energy industry, particularly in Louisiana. However, there are severe occupational hazards for oil rig workers, both in national and international waters.

There are several different factors during oil drilling that could cause a tragic accident. The most catastrophic disaster that can occur is an explosion. Oil platforms have a high risk of blowouts or explosions, even though they are surrounded by water.

The data from the CDC shows that the fatality rate in the US oil and gas industry is around 27.1 per 100,000 industry workers. To put it in perspective, this fatality rate is seven times higher than the average fatality rate of workers in all industries in the US.

The Devastating Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig Explosion

A report by the CDC points to the devastating explosion in the Deepwater Horizon that killed 11 workers to serve as a reminder of the dangers for workers in the oil industry.

On 20th April 2010, a massive eruption occurred due to a faulty blowout preventer at Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico. The blowout caused a firestorm on the oil platform, which lead to an explosion, killing 11 crewmembers on the rig and injuring dozens more.

The rig went on to burn for 36 hours after the explosion occurred and then eventually sank 2 days later. The explosion also caused 4.9 million barrels of oil to be dropped into the ocean, which is considered to be one of the most calamitous spills to the aquatic environment in US history.

Common Causes of Oil Rig Explosions

Oil Rig Fires

Fires are the biggest reason to worry for all oil rig workers. Even if a little spark comes into contact with the gas or oil, it is sure to lead to a huge explosion and a never-ending fire as the constant supply of fuel keeps the fire burning. Out of these two elements, the fire is what poses the greatest risk to the employees.

Faulty Equipment

Even with the world being as technologically advanced as it is today, the equipment that is used on oil rigs is not up to the mark in terms of safety. Offshore drilling is much more dangerous in comparison to other types of drilling.

The drilling locations are very far away from help in case something goes terribly wrong. This also means sending in helicopters to transport injured workers to the hospital. This takes a long time and has the potential to turn minor injuries into serious ones.

Equipment failure can cause explosions in two ways. It can cause sparks that may cause the fuel to ignite. It can also fail to work and prevent carrying out a safety measure to the impact of an explosion.


Negligence can occur in many ways and by many different people. Taking shortcuts, cutting costs on equipment, and failing to follow safety programs, are some of the ways that negligence can occur. In the past, the average person was not aware of oil rigs or the potential risks that the workers face every day.

Today, there is a lot of awareness due to the major incidents that have occurred. Hopefully, this makes the employers more stringent about following regulations and keeping their employees safe.

Electrical Sparks

Usage of electrical tools is very common on a drilling platform. The use of such tools should be limited to the jobs they are originally designed for and should be kept in good shape. Failing to keep these tools in good condition or having broken wires can lead to electrical sparks which are very dangerous for oil rigs.

Mother Nature

Lightning and storm damage are some of the ways that nature can cause damage to equipment. This can also lead to issues that can cause fires or explosions.

Determining Fault in an Oil Rig Explosion

Determining fault for an oil rig explosion should not be about pointing fingers but working to ensure that proper compensation is provided to the victims and their families for the damages that they may have suffered. Determining who is at fault is very challenging.

Employers are often considered responsible and found guilty of negligent behavior when oil rig explosions occur. It can be a failure to provide adequate safety training, not providing the right equipment for the job, or having outdated safety measures in place.

The employer has the greatest responsibility to make the oil rig as safe as possible. There cannot be any room for shortcuts when the risk is so high, and the potential outcome can be very severe and fatal.

Experienced Louisiana Oilfield Injury Attorneys

At the Trainor Law Firm, LLC, our offshore injury attorneys bring an in-depth knowledge of the complicated oilfield injury laws as well as an innate understanding of the legal strategies required to recover the maximum possible compensation that you deserve.

If you are the victim of a workplace injury, caused by negligence or wrongdoing, you are legally entitled to seek and recover compensation. You can rely on our lawyers to use their knowledge and expertise to recover the maximum possible compensation for your injury claim. Call us today at 985-606-4785 or contact us online for a free initial consultation.

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