Offshore employee pays price for poor health and safety

Oil platform

David was working offshore on a North Sea oil rig when he injured his back during a manual lifting operation.

He had been asked to repeatedly manually lift a casing fill hose, around 37kg in weight, in order to pour mud into the casing surrounding the drill pipe – although this is normally done using a machine.

“About three of us said that we shouldn’t be lifting this as it was too heavy but no-one listened to us.”

This resulted in David being flown off the rig by helicopter as he couldn’t continue his work duties. After seeing a local GP, he went to hospital for follow up treatment where he was given a facet joint injection into his lumber spine.

Impact of offshore accident

David was off work for 12 months. At the beginning, he couldn’t walk but had to crawl to get to the bathroom, and even 2 years later, he still has pain.

“I felt let down by them as they didn’t care very much about what happened to me, my injuries from the accident were just brushed aside.

“I wanted to just get on with life and get better but I realised my injury was more serious than I thought.”

Offshore injury lawyers at Digby Brown

David came to Digby Brown Solicitors for help a few months after the accident and his case was assigned to Neil Davidson, specialist lawyer in offshore injury claims within our Aberdeen office.

“It was never about the money for me but more to do with the principle of the matter and the attitude of the company – they tried to brush everything away.

“Companies like those neglect health and safety all the time due to costs and get away with quite a lot but it impacted on me. I lost earnings, potential overtime, had travel costs to medical appointments – I was paying the price for them neglecting their workforce.”

Offshore company denies worker was injured at work

David’s employers, and the owners of the rig, flatly denied that David had been injured whilst working on the rig. Instead, they said he had approached them complaining of a flare up of an old back injury.

“It was 7 kilos heavier than what we should have been lifting. It could have been done mechanically but no, they wanted it done manually.

“I spoke to someone with 40 years’ experience in offshore and he said he had never heard of them doing that job that way. It makes no sense.”

Offshore company stonewalled Digby Brown for information

The offshore company refused to provide any documentation to show that they had followed all the relevant training procedures, risk assessment procedures and so on.

Our offshore injury lawyers lodged a summary application with Aberdeen Sheriff Court in an attempt to obtain the documentation that David’s employers refused to provide.

This action confirmed the offshore company did not hold the documentation that that they would have required to exhibit to defend the injury claim if it went to court.

Employer refused to deal with offshore injury claim

Even still, David’s employers refused to deal with his offshore injury claim.

Our Aberdeen lawyers raised a Court action and shortly after received an initial offer of £15,000. Neil Davidson, offshore injury lawyer, negotiated this offer upwards in excess of 25% to a final settlement of £19,000.

“I’m grateful for the compensation I received and I couldn’t have asked for a nicer person to represent me.

“If anyone came to me I would recommend Digby Brown. The service was 10 out of 10 from start to finish – the administrative side, investigating the accident – a lot of work was put into the case to prove my employer was at fault and get me compensation.”