Offshore Wind Turbines and Maritime Injury Laws The Facts You Need to Know

Offshore Wind Turbines and Maritime Injury Laws: The Facts You Need to Know

Did you know there are over 24,000 wind-related jobs in Texas, many of them located right here in Houston?

Maritime workers need to be aware of the dangers of offshore wind turbines. Offshore wind turbines are a relatively new technology, and there is still a lot of unknown about their effects on maritime workers.

But don’t worry. Keep reading because we created this guide to offshore wind turbine and maritime injury laws to help inform maritime workers about the potential dangers of working near these structures.

What Are Offshore Wind Turbines and Maritime Injury Laws?

Offshore wind turbines are large wind turbines that are situated in water, typically several miles off the coast. They have the potential to produce a significant amount of energy and can help reduce dependence on fossil fuels for energy production.

However, offshore wind turbines can also pose risks to maritime workersMaritime injury laws exist to protect these workers from serious harm and offer them the opportunity to recover damages when they are injured due to another’s negligence.

What Are Common Maritime Injury Claims?

There are many types of maritime injury claims. Let’s look at them now:

Seamen’s Injuries

Working onboard a vessel is hazardous in many ways, with potential injuries lurking at nearly every turn. Seamen suffer some of the most dangerous, debilitating, and life-changing injuries at sea.

While these can be caused by an innocent mistake or a seemingly minor unsafe condition, the result can be catastrophic: fractures, electric shock leading to major organ damage and even death, loss of limbs and sight due to malfunctioning equipment, and more. The emotional toll is also immense as seamen face difficult roads to recovery from illness or disability.

Whale Strikes

Whale strikes pose a significant hazard for recreational and commercial vessel operators, as these collisions can cause considerable damage to the ship and even fatalities among those aboard. Regrettably, preventative measures such as speed restrictions have not been successful in combating this issue.

To address the danger of whale strikes, researchers are developing techniques to detect their presence in time for ships to avoid a collision. These methods include using acoustic monitoring technology which senses sound waves emitted by whales when they are near the surface of the water.

The goal is for operators of vessels to be able to recognize these sound waves quickly, allowing them to take corrective action before it’s too late and there’s a serious accident.

Oil Rig Explosions

The news of explosions on oil rigs is often met with shock and horror, as the magnitude of such accidents can be monumental. The physical impacts in terms of burns, sharp debris cutting through the air, and toxic smoke can be life-changing for those witnesses or directly involved in such explosions.

Oil rig explosions can cause psychological trauma to workers. They may live with the memory or fear of such incidents happening again in the future.

It is important that we check workplace safety standards often. This way, we can avoid more accidents and injuries. Not just for the building or equipment, but also for the people who work there. We need to make sure that they are mentally and emotionally healthy too.

Key Risks of Offshore Wind Turbines

Now that we’ve taken a look at some common maritime injury claims, let’s explore the risks that offshore wind turbines pose to workers. These are the key risk factors you should be aware of:

Equipment Failure

Equipment failure is a serious issue that should be addressed immediately. If not, it can cause injury or even death to those operating the equipment. Poor maintenance of the machines and inadequate safety practices can contribute to their breakdown. An equipment failure in a turbine, for example, can result in significant damage and danger.

Thankfully, certain measures can be taken to prevent such incidents. Strict safety protocols and constant upkeep of the machinery are essential steps that should be taken to reduce the chances of failure and ensure the safety of operators.

Fall Injuries

Working on an offshore wind turbine can be a risky business. Not only is there the danger of electrical shock, but falls from height can occur too. Often, workers don’t realize how quickly conditions at a height can become treacherous and are taken by surprise when a fall does occur.

Inspections for the presence of slick surfaces, loose cabling, and other hazards should take place to reduce the risk of trips and slips. Moreover, proper protective measures such as integrated fall arrest systems should be implemented alongside adequate worker training to help keep personnel safe when working at heights.

Ultimately, educating personnel on how to recognize potential risks and taking preventative steps is key to avoiding costly injuries resulting from falls within these dangerous environments.

Weather Conditions

Weather is an integral part of working with offshore wind turbines, as it can be both a benefit and a Hazard. If winds are in the right direction and intensity, they can provide energy to the turbines and create successful energy production.

However, if the weather is bad and there are strong winds, it becomes dangerous to work. This happens when the waves become choppy. To avoid these conditions, companies must pay close attention to the weather forecasts before sending teams out to sea. This way, they will know if it is too dangerous to work that day.

Workers must stay abreast of changing weather so they can be kept safe while working in offshore environments.

Corrosion

Offshore wind turbines can provide a clean and efficient energy source. But they can become dangerous if they are not properly inspected and maintained. Corrosion is when materials are destroyed by chemical or electrochemical activity. This can happen in many different areas of an offshore wind turbine.

This means that we need to check things that could be in the water for rust. This includes but is not limited to driveshafts, conduits, enclosures, turbines, electrical terminals. If we don’t do this regularly, the equipment can become unsafe and people can get hurt.

Corrosion can cause problems in electrical systems. This can cause short circuits. This might hurt people if they touch it. So, we have to inspect the machinery regularly. This helps us stop corrosion before it becomes a problem.

Who Can Be Liable for an Offshore Wind Turbine Support

Several parties can be held liable for an offshore wind turbine incident. Let’s look at them now:

Employer Negligence

Employer negligence can have serious legal and financial consequences. If an employer fails to provide workers with all the necessary tools, equipment, or training to safely perform their jobs, they may be held responsible in the event of a lawsuit.

Even if an employer is not responsible for an employee’s injury, the employer could still have to pay a lot of money in court. Employers should make sure they know the workplace safety policies and that all employees know these policies too.

Third-Party Liability

Third-party liability is an important concept to understand in the construction of offshore wind turbines. If a malfunction happens due to the negligence of any external contractor, supplier, or manufacturer, they can be held liable for any property damage or personal injury that may have occurred.

There are safety standards that everyone has to follow. If someone does not follow the safety standards and something bad happens, they can be sued. This makes sure that everyone who works on building offshore wind turbines is doing their best work.

Product Liability

Product liability is a serious consideration that should be taken into account by any business. Mishaps can have severe consequences when it comes to product design, manufacturing, and distribution processes. As a result, businesses must take every precaution available to ensure their products are safe for the public.

There is a lot of testing that needs to be done to make sure products are safe. Even with all this testing, sometimes there are still problems that cause people to get hurt. If this happens, the company who made the product should have to pay for the damages because it was their fault.

Poor Site Planning

Poor site planning is a serious hazard for those working in the offshore wind turbine industry. Without proper design, drainage issues and erosion can lead to slips, trips, and falls. Unstable platforms, missing guardrails, and obstructing debris are threats that can cause serious injuries.

If we don’t take safety measures, something bad could happen to the workers. They could get hurt and it would cost a lot of money. Employers need to plan ahead for projects involving offshore wind turbines.

Consult a Wind Turbine Injury Attorney In Houston Texas

If you were injured in a wind turbine accident in Houston, Texas, it’s time to talk to the Morgan Legal Group. We have years of experience advocating for injured workers and citizens in Houston. We care about our clients and we understand all federal, state, and city laws that impact your ability to receive compensation.

To get started, schedule your free consultation with our maritime injury lawyer. You tell us the facts of your case and we’ll tell you what we believe your next best steps should be. If that involves filing a claim, we’ll be proud to fight for you.