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President Obama Proposes New Offshore Drilling Rules to Strengthen Safety

The Obama Administration has recently proposed new rules aimed at improving safety at offshore oil and natural gas drilling sites. The proposed regulations are in response to the explosion that occurred on BP PLC’s Deepwater Horizon rig. In particular, the proposed regulations are focused on requiring tougher standards on equipment designed to control a well. In addition, the regulations would “require real-time monitoring of certain kinds of drilling that are in deep water or done at high pressures.”

In response to the proposed regulations, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell stated “these proposed measures are designed to further build on critical lessons learned from the Deepwater Horizon tragedy and to ensure that offshore operations are safe.” The administration is expected to release final rules later this year, which should have an effective date three months thereafter. Given the significant requirements under the proposed rules, companies would have some time to come into compliance. Depending on the nature of the specific regulation implemented, companies would be expected to have anywhere from three to seven years to comply with the new rules.

Common Offshore Drilling Accidents

Operators and owners of offshore drilling sites, as well as employers, have a legal duty to protect the health and safety of workers on drilling sites. Unfortunately, the necessary safety precautions and procedures are too often not followed, as exemplified in the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion. When this happens, the workers on drilling sites suffer because dangerous and deadly accidents can occur. According to the Health and Safety Executive, some of the most common kinds of offshore accidents include:

  • Hit by moving, flying or falling object (mostly impact from dropped object);
  • Injured while handling, lifting or carrying;
  • Falls from height; and
  • Slips, trips and falls on the same level.

In reviewing the cause of the accidents, many of them could have been prevented. The most common underlying causes of these accidents include:

  • Inadequate hazard analysis/risk assessment;
  • Inadequate supervision;
  • Lack of/inadequate operating procedures; and
  • Inadequacies in permit-to-work.

Contact Our Texas Offshore Rig Explosion Attorneys

Zehl & Associates employs a team of experienced Texas maritime attorneys who have substantial experience helping offshore workers recover compensation under the Jones Act. Our maritime and Jones Act Lawyers have recovered significant compensation for workers injured at offshore drilling sites. In particular, in just the past five years, our rig explosion lawyers have recovered over $1 Billion in verdicts and settlements. Our Texas offshore rig explosion attorneys have represented five workers injured in the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion.

If you have been injured in an offshore drilling accident, our offshore drilling accident attorneys want to help you protect your rights. Contact the offshore drilling accident attorneys at Zehl & Associates today for a free consultation. You can either call us at 1-888-603-3636 or visit one of our offices located in Houston and Austin. Contact us before you find out it is too late to seek compensation for your injuries.