Recently, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a safety alert after six workers died while performing diving operations. Five of the deceased were power generation plant workers who sustained fatal injuries while working around pipes, drains, tunnels, and valves. Because commercial diving is a particularly hazardous line of work, OSHA provides numerous safety tips and standards in order to protect workers from industry-wide hazards.
Commercial diving is one of the riskiest jobs out there. Commercial divers can work in many different fields, like underwater construction, law enforcement, and the oil and gas industries. According to OSHA, the inherently strenuous nature of diving creates high risks for divers. The length, type, and frequency of a dive also pose their own unique dangers. In addition, OSHA reports that professional divers regularly face the following hazards while working.
There is certainly no shortage of job-related hazards when it comes to diving operations; certain tasks that underwater workers perform are notorious for being perilous, too. For example, commercial divers are vulnerable to sustaining injuries when conducting welding and cutting operations, hull scrubbing, materials handling, and using underwater hand and power tools.
As you can see, working under water is an extremely dangerous line of employment. After the recent spate of fatalities, OSHA’s safety alert aims to directly address industry hazards and provide useful ways that employers can safeguard employees from sustaining preventable fatal and nonfatal injuries. One of the main hazards that OSHA addresses in its safety alert is drowning from exposure to Delta P. Delta P is a differential water pressure that creates a force so strongly and quickly that workers can become entrapped by it. Individuals that work around pipes, drains, tunnels, and valves, are particularly susceptible to Delta P forces. To reduce the risks associated with Delta P, OSHA requires contractor and facility managers to take the following precautions:
OSHA recommends that diving contractors and facility operators also take additional safety measures, including:
Every employer in the United States is generally responsible for providing workers with a workplace free from known health and safety hazards. Not only do employers need to provide safe workplaces, but they also must comply with certain safety standards, rules, and regulations. Federal law requires employers to follow different occupational safety standards depending on the nature of operations and the industry.
Even when employers are in compliance, injuries still happen. The risks that workers face are even higher when employers break the law by failing to maintain effective safety and health programs. When someone gets hurt on the job – and in most cases, whether it results from an employer’s negligence or not – they can file a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides wage replacement and medical benefits to injured workers. A workers’ compensation claim can give injured workers and their family members peace of mind and some relief from the financial burden that all too often accompanies on-the-job accidents.
Similarly to employers, industrial tool, equipment, and machine manufacturers are also legally obligated to uphold numerous safety standards in order to protect workers and consumers. If someone sustains an injury that results from diving operations equipment being any of the following, he or she should consider filing a products liability claim.
Our firm has decades of experience representing injured workers. If you would like to learn more about filing a products liability or workers’ compensation claim, contact a representative online who can help now.
Galfand Berger LLP has offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.