It is no surprise to those Louisiana residents who work on oil rigs that their jobs come with a significant amount of risk. Even though the hazards come from a variety of sources, explosions in recent years have made it more than clear that risks can lead to serious or deadly injuries. Those who work on the outer continental shelf may wonder how their injuries are covered. Fortunately, the federal government accounted for this by enacting the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to extend coverage to oil rig workers under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.
Since oil rig workers engage in the exploration, removal, development and transportation of natural resources on the lands submerged outside the country’s navigable waters, their pursuit of compensation falls under these acts. However, there are some employees who would not be covered due to their positions. These individuals include federal government employees and officers, along with those who work for any agency of the government. The OCSLA does not cover those who work on navigable vessels, including members of the crew or masters.
In the event of an injury or death on an oil rig, the OCSLA allows workers who qualify to pursue benefits under the LHWCA just as anyone else covered under that act. Oil rig workers do not fall under the normal workers’ compensation system with which most Louisiana residents are familiar. Working off the shores of the United States always presented a quandary for employees and employers when it came to covering injuries, which is why Congress passed these and other acts.
Every worker, including those who work on the outer Continental Shelf, deserves the right to seek benefits for injuries suffered during the course of their work duties. Receiving those benefits can present a challenge, however. Anyone injured while working on one of the oil rigs off the coast of Louisiana may find it beneficial to consult with an attorney with experience in admiralty and maritime law since these claims do not fall under the normal workers’ compensation system.
Source: dol.gov, “Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act“, Accessed on May 20, 2018