“Skills Gap” in Oil and Gas May Put Offshore Workers at Risk

August 28, 2017

When performing complicated tasks under potentially-dangerous conditions offshore, it is critical that everyone involved has the skill and experience required to complete the job safely. Lack of training is a common factor in offshore accidents, and it is often the result of offshore employers choosing to prioritize meeting deadlines over ensuring their workers’ safety.

However, a recent article on Rigzone.com suggests that there may be a new factor contributing to on-the-job risks for offshore workers. The article discusses what the author refers to as a “skills gap,” which may be reducing the pool of qualified and willing applicants for offshore jobs.

Lack of Focus on Employee Retention May Lead to Shortage of Experienced Offshore Workers

According to the article, many millennials (individuals born roughly between 1982 and 2004) are finding the current job opportunities in oil and gas unsatisfactory. The author references one expert who points to lack of technological innovation as a primary factor, while Rigzone’s own survey identified lack of advancement opportunities as the primary turn-off for millennials who might otherwise pursue careers in the offshore industry. Whatever the precise cause (or causes) may be, the article warns of a potential “skills gap” resulting from a generation of would-be employees expecting more from their jobs and being willing to look elsewhere when their jobs do not provide adequate levels of satisfaction.

Without a sufficient skilled workforce, offshore job sites – including vessels, rigs and platforms – may become more dangerous for those workers who choose to pursue careers in oil and gas. If there are not enough qualified workers to fill open positions, employers will need to either ask their employees to do more in the same amount of time (or work extended hours), or else hire less-qualified applicants who are willing to take positions that may be viewed as undesirable by more-skilled and more-capable workers. In either scenario, the risks for offshore workers could increase significantly, as worker fatigue, employers’ lack of commitment to safety standards, and coworker mistakes are all among the leading causes of offshore accidents and injuries.

What to Do if You Get Injured Offshore

If you get hurt working offshore – whether as a result of being asked to work too many hours, perform tasks without proper training, work alongside unskilled coworkers, or as a result of any other issue onboard a vessel, rig or platform – it is important to know your legal rights. Similar to the workers’ compensation laws that provide benefits to land-based workers, the Jones Act and other maritime laws provide opportunities for offshore workers to seek just compensation for their injury-related losses. To learn about your rights as an offshore worker, we encourage you to read:

Injured Offshore? Contact Us for a Free Consultation

With offices in Houston, TX, the attorneys at Morrow & Sheppard LLP provide experienced legal representation for injured offshore workers. If you suffered an offshore injury and would like to find out if you have a claim for financial compensation, call (800) 489-2216 or inquire online to speak with a lawyer about your case today.

Get a Free Case Review by Calling Morrow & Sheppard Now.

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