When tragic accidents take place on offshore oil and gas platforms, officials and regulators are tasked with investigating both what happened during the incident and what may have contributed to its cause. While the causes of a recent fatal explosion on Fieldwood Energy’s Echo Platform are still being investigated, it seems likely that officials will be scrutinizing the company’s focus on safety during what has turned out to be a period of intense corporate growth and numerous acquisitions for the company.
Why Rapid Growth at Fieldwood Could Pose Dangers for the Company’s Platform Workers
Houston-based Fieldwood Energy LLC bought billions of dollars in assets last year, quickly becoming the Gulf's largest shallow-water driller. However, maintaining safe conditions on these kinds of oil and gas platforms takes a lot of time, money, and effort. If a company is too large or too distracted with increasing its profits, adherence to safety standards can get thin—and workers can suffer the consequences. The grim reality of the issue is that it is extremely challenging for any company with so many assets to make sure that it is thoroughly following all the safety guidelines and regulations on every single rig it operates, and it only takes one small error in these risky workplaces to take the life of an employee or contractor.
Fieldwood Recently Considering Spending Cuts to Foster Further Acquisitions
To complicate the potential problem, Fieldwood recently announced that the company is thinking about ways to make the money needed to continue its rapid growth. On November 13, 2014, Businessweek reported on these plans, including a statement from Fieldwood’s CEO Matt McCarroll that the company “has considered cutting back on spending in order to have more money for acquisitions.” It’s unclear if this tightening of the corporate belt could mean a decrease in the funds devoted to safety issues, but it remains a concern to workers as the company continues its rapid growth.
Injured Platform Workers Have Trouble Protecting Their Rights After an Accident
The huge energy companies that operate oil and gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico have a duty to closely follow regulations, carefully train their workers, and provide a safe work environment for all their employees and contractors while they are away from shore. The desire to increase profits and sustain growth should never take the focus away from a company’s duty to protect the health and wellbeing of the workers who make those profits possible.
Sadly, when something goes wrong on a platform, companies often take action to limit their responsibility to injured workers and their families—so, if you’ve been hurt, it’s important to start an investigation of your own by learning more about the laws that protect you. For more information about your rights, don’t hesitate to contact our Houston legal team today at our toll-free number or reach out using the live chat on this page.