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Getting the right medical care on oil rigs

Offshore explosions, catastrophic equipment failures and other high-profile incidents often receive the most attention from the media here in Louisiana and elsewhere. In these instances, people envision an appropriately dramatic response, including medivac helicopters, to handle the evacuation of the injured. While that may occur sometimes, one company who provides medical services for those on oil rigs says it is not always necessary, and in some cases, causes more harm than good. 

Companies who employ Louisiana residents to work on their oil rigs are responsible for making sure adequate medical care is available when needed. Many of the injuries suffered by oil rig workers do not require evacuation from the rig. Instead, what they often need is on-site care and observation. If necessary, a helicopter can be called in to remove a patient from the rig.

Employers are required to ensure the safety of their employees. This includes having a plan in place to provide emergency medical care aboard the rig. After all, it is not as if an injured worker can be taken by ambulance to the nearest hospital. Getting someone off an oil rig takes a bit more logistics than that. For this reason, some sort of medical apparatus needs to be available on the rig in order to at least handle emergencies and provide medical care until he or she can reach a hospital.

Having medical care readily available on oil rigs could help with minor injuries and with emergency care for more serious ones. Once a worker begins receiving the necessary care for the work-related injuries, he or she may begin to wonder how the bills will get paid -- medical and otherwise. At that point, he or she could file a claim under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, seeking restitution for financial losses associated with the incident.

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