Drilling Rig Workers are included under the Jones Act

There are many offshore oil and gas rigs in and around Louisiana, which means that a good portion of the state’s population works as offshore workers. Jobs with drilling operations are often highly paid because they are inherently dangerous. Nevertheless, employers are still expected to take reasonable measures to ensure the safety of their workers.

Unfortunately, many drilling companies continue to cut corners when it comes to compliance with safety regulations. Because there are not enough inspectors to regularly check on the thousands of rigs in Louisiana alone, they rely on employers to police and self-report on compliance. Inevitably, accidents happen that can have serious consequences for the workers.

This is why the Jones Act is such an important piece of legislation. It protects people who work on a vessel or ship as well as offshore workers that work on rigs, barges, drill ship, construction barges, and recreational boats…in other words, anyone who works on any surface that is on the water. The Jones Act is 46 U.S.C. 688 passed by Congress in 1970 and details the liability of operators of any movable structure on water for worker injuries. Since it is a federal law, it applies to all US-based operators.

However, the Jones Act is different from the workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation law is a not fault-based. It does not require the worker to prove that the employer or any person in management was at fault or negligent, or that there was a defect in equipment, machinery, or safety gear. Under the Jones Law, the worker is required to prove negligence in some form on the part of the employer or fellow workers which put the seaworthiness of the vessel in question.

According to the Mokaram Law Firm, claims under the Jones Act can be extremely complicated. It would be fatally easy to make a mistake that would get your negligent employer off the hook. If you believe you have a claim under the Jones Act, make sure that you consult with an experienced maritime injuries lawyer.

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