Offshore diving can be a lucrative, but dangerous, occupation

| Aug 11, 2020 | Maritime Law |

Offshore diving can be a lucrative career in the oil and gas industry in Louisiana, but it is also a dangerous profession. Offshore drivers can drown, develop circulatory problems, suffer from hypothermia and develop lung problems. Construction-type injuries such as burns and crush injuries are also a problem in the offshore diving industry.

Be safe before, during and after the dive

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has rules employers of offshore divers must follow. For example, before a dive, employers have to provide contact information for area hospitals, decompression chambers, transportation and for the nearest U.S. Coast Guard Rescue Coordination Center.

While the dive is occurring, employers must give divers a safe way to get in and out of the water. Also, employers must have a plan for helping injured drivers safely exit the water.

Decompression sickness: A preventable diving injury

One common injury offshore divers can suffer on-the-job is decompression sickness, in which small gas bubbles form in the diver’s body. Decompression sickness can manifest itself as “the bends” in the diver’s joints, “staggers” in the diver’s spine or head, or “chokes” in the diver’s chest. Decompression sickness can be mild and treatable at the work site, but sometimes it is life-threatening, requiring immediate care by health care professionals. OSHA has manuals for employers to follow to avoid decompression sickness.

Assistance is available to injured offshore divers

Tragically, when employers do not follow OSHA regulations on offshore diving, divers can be seriously injured. A disabling injury could prevent a diver from ever working again, but even seemingly minor injuries can keep a diver from working for years. In the worst of circumstances, an offshore diver may die due to their employer’s negligence. In such situations, it is important to seek the assistance necessary to understand your legal options moving forward.