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Houston Commercial Diving Accident Lawyers

Helping Injured Workers Nationwide. Offices in Texas and Louisiana.

Commercial diving is an occupation that involves underwater construction, scientific research, and more. Per the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), commercial divers are subject to a multitude of accidents. Offshore diving, a branch of professional diving, is used by the oil and gas industry in the exploration and production sector. Divers receive special training and are used mainly in the Gulf of Mexico. Although any type of professional diving is dangerous, offshore diving is one of the most hazardous occupations in the professional diving industry.

Commercial Diving Health Risks

According to OSHA, commercial divers are exposed to a variety of health concerns.

Like recreational divers, offshore divers are subject to:

  • Drowning
  • Circulatory problems
  • Hypothermia
  • Respiratory issues

Additionally, they may suffer injuries related to construction such as burn injuries and crush injuries. Because of decreased visibility and other environmental factors, offshore construction, and demolition is significantly more dangerous than what takes place on dry land.

OSHA's Regulations for Commercial Diving

Because of the innate risks involved in commercial diving, OSHA has an extensive set of rules, regulations, and guidelines employers must follow to make sure that their employees are kept safe while diving. For example, the employer and the diving team must meet specific qualifications. Generally speaking, the dive team must have the experience and training necessary to perform the task that they were hired to complete. If the job requires the use of specific tools, every member of the dive team must know how to use them.

Additionally, each team member should be familiar with diving operations and emergency procedures. Any team member that will be exposed to hyperbaric conditions must be trained in diving-related physics and physiology. Any team member in control of hyperbaric conditions is required by OSHA to receive the same training. Each member of the diving team should be assigned tasks and duties that align with the employee's level of training. Additionally, an employee cannot be exposed to hyperbaric conditions against his/her will unless the employee needs decompression treatment.

Diving Procedures

Employers are required to comply with OSHA standards before, during and after a dive. Before the dive, the employer must provide emergency aid and the telephone numbers of accessible hospitals, available physicians, an operation decompression chamber, an available means of transportation, and the nearest United States Coast Guard Rescue Coordination Center. During the dive, the employer must provide divers with a way to enter and exit the water safely. Additionally, the employer must provide a way to help injured divers out of the water.

Health Concerns That Professional Divorce Face

According to OSHA, professional divers are at risk of suffering a variety of unique health concerns.

For example, dysbarism is one of the most common health concerns faced by commercial and professional divers. What is dysbarism? In short, it is a medical condition with a multitude of complicated symptoms that usually results from an individual being exposed to rapid changes in ambient pressure. For example, if a diver is several hundred feet underwater, his/her body is under a great deal of ambient pressure. If the diver swims to the surface too quickly, he/she may suffer from dysbarism because of the rapidly changing atmospheric pressure.

A variety of symptoms can identify dysbarism. One of the most common forms is decompression sickness (DCS). DCS occurs when inert gas bubbles are subjected to decreased pressure. Because of this, DCS usually occurs shortly after a dive. OSHA has published several manuals designed to help employers ensure their employees do not suffer from DCS. When precautions are taken, DCS and other related health risks can be avoided. Individuals suffering from DCS or another form of dysbarism may suffer breathing difficulties, confusion, and joint pain.

Generally speaking, DCS is the most common form of dysbarism and is usually caused by gas bubbles forming in one or more locations of the diver's body. For example, if gas bubbles begin to form in the diver's joints, he/she may experience joint pain. This symptom is called the bends. Similarly, if a diver develops bubbles in the spine or head, he/she may experience staggers. Staggers is symptomized by dizziness and confusion. Bubbles may also form in the chest or skin. Bubbles form in the diver's chest is referred to as chokes and can be identified by coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. Although mild forms of DCS may be treated at the dive site, DCS may also be a life-threatening condition.

Have you been injured in a commercial diving accident? Get the professional legal representation that you deserve. Call (888) 493-1629 today.

Case Results

Check Out Our Victories

  • $29Million The Largest Known Settlement for a Wrongful Death Offshore Kurt Arnold, Jason Itkin, and Cory Itkin successfully secured a record settlement for a single family who tragically lost a loved one. It is the largest known settlement for a death that occurred offshore. While a settlement is not an admittance of responsibility, our firm was pleased that the company was willing to provide fair compensation to the family of their employee without a fight.
  • $14Million Jones Act Settlement Reached Two Days Before Trial Arnold & Itkin represented a seaman after he suffered a head injury on the Hercules 15 inland barge. Hercules employees tack welded a three foot pipe to the derrick and then forgot to remove it before starting drilling operations. The pipe was jarred loose and hit Plaintiff in the head, causing severe injury. We presented his case under the Jones Act against Hercules, who chose to settle just before trial.
  • $11.5Million Settlement Won for Injured Victim of Offshore Accident Arnold & Itkin obtained a settlement of $11.5 million on behalf of an offshore accident victim suffering from both physical and psychological injuries. His settlement will ensure that our client gets all the time, financial support, and stability he needs to fully recover and get back on his feet.
  • $8.9Million Settlement Achieved for Severely Injured Seaman Arnold & Itkin helped secure a settlement on behalf of a seaman who injured his head when working aboard an offshore drilling vessel. Our firm helped to recover $8.9 million on his behalf.
  • $8Million Massive Settlement Reached Before Trial Began Our firm represented an offshore worker (a steward) who seriously injured his back in an accident. The injury prevented him from making a living. While other lawyers told him his case was only worth a few hundred thousand dollars, our attorneys knew better. Due to intense negotiations by the firm, Arnold & Itkin was able to obtain a settlement for $8 million from his employers.
  • $7.2Million Millions Won for Brain-Injured Client in Louisiana Arnold & Itkin recovered more than $7 million in a settlement for a severely injured Louisiana client. Our client suffered brain injury and memory issues while working on an offshore platform. The defendant settled his case during jury selection, and our client now has the money he needs to receive quality medical care for the rest of his life.
  • $7.1Million Concussed Worker Received a Massive Settlement after Accident Arnold & Itkin represented an offshore worker with a concussion and a herniated disk from an accident on the job. These injuries inhibited our client’s ability to make a living, requiring him to pursue a claim. His employers eventually resolved the case by settling for $7.1 million.
  • $6.9Million Settlement Obtained for Family of Deceased Offshore Worker Arnold & Itkin negotiated a multi-million dollar settlement for the family of a man who died offshore. Though the defendant attempted to get away with an extremely low offer, our team obtained a settlement that was many times larger.
  • $6.6Million Settlement Obtained for Wife & Family of Deceased Offshore Worker Arnold & Itkin helped a woman and her family get justice after her husband was killed in an incident offshore. Despite undue pressure from the defendant, our firm made sure our clients were taken care of for the rest of their lives.
  • $6.5Million Settlement Secured for Injured Crew Member on Barge Arnold & Itkin obtained a seven-figure settlement for an offshore worker who was injured off the coast of Florida while working in needlessly dangerous conditions. His settlement will help him move forward after irreparable damage was done to his head and face.
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