Crush Injuries on Oil Rigs
Information from an Oil Rig Explosion Attorney
The dangers of the oil business are no secret. In fact, explosions on oil rigs have received a tremendous amount of national media attention in the past few years. From the Deepwater Horizon explosion to other incidents in the Gulf Coast and other waters, it seems oil rig workers are never completely safewhile on the job.
In an effort to be safe amongst the many safety risks and hazards on an oil rig, workers must wear earplugs and other safety gear, including hard hats, steel-toed boots, and eye protection. Despite these efforts, however, accidents and serious injuries still happen more frequently than they should.
One of the most common injuries is crush injuries. Learn more about the effects and costs of these injuries below—as well as what you can do to protect your future after a severe injury.
About Crush Injuries & Amputations
Crush injuries happens when a prolonged or forceful compression of a body part causes damage to muscles, blood vessels, nerves, bone and other tissues. Approximately 75% of crush injuries affect the legs, with 10% affecting the arms. Crush injuries are often caused by cranes and heavy equipment common to offshore oil platforms.
Crush injuries can range in severity from closing the door on a finger, to more serious damage that results in disability or death. Extensive damage to the bone and muscle tissue can render the limb completely unsalvageable, which necessitates amputation. Some minor crush injuries can be treated without the help of a medical professional, but many crush injuries require immediate attention to prevent complications and avoid amputation.
Why Crush Injuries Are Dangerous & Potentially Fatal
When a crush injury occurs, abnormal compression forces disrupt the normal chemical balance of the muscle cells. This damages the structures in the cell membranes that are responsible for pumping calcium and potassium into the cells and removing sodium from the cells, and can lead to breakage of the muscle cell membrane and cell death.
When this happens, muscles break down and release a protein into the blood known as myoglobin. This leads to a condition called rhabdomyolysis, which results in low blood pressure and vomiting.
If rhabdomyolysis is not treated immediately, it can lead to:
- Kidney failure
- Toxic shock
- Fatal injury
Medical intervention is required to prevent kidney damage and stabilize blood pressure, and surgery may be needed to repair tissue damage. Sadly, amputation may be the only effective medical treatment in some cases.
One of the reasons why crush injuries are so devastating is because of the long-term impact suffered by the victims. Crush injuries can lead to intense, constant pain, and the potential of permanent pain—also known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) or Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD).
Crush Injuries on Oil Rigs
With all of the heavy machinery and equipment that oil rig workers must operate on a daily basis, it is no surprise that crush injuries are some of the most common injuries reported on oil rigs. After drilling begins, pipes are added to the rig to keep up with the deepening of the well. Unsecured drill pipes can roll and injure nearby workers.
It is important for workers to be educated on good lifting techniques with heavy drilling parts in order to prevent crush injuries. Workers should also try to keep away from rotating parts and follow safe lifting and hoisting procedures, as these are some of the main reasons why crush injuries occur.
Contact Arnold & Itkin Today—Call (888) 493-1629
Whenever a crush injury occurs because of the negligence of another person or because of a machine defect, the victim has the right to seek compensation for their pain and suffering. Here at Arnold & Itkin LLP, we understand the devastation caused by an oil rig explosion or accident. Many of our clients have suffered from crush injuries, and we saw firsthand the struggles and needs that came with their pain.
We have been able to secure billions of dollars in verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients because we fight for them aggressively and relentlessly. Call today for a free consultation with a legal professional who has extensive experience in the oil and gas industry.