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Why Roustabouts Require Protection Under the Jones Act

The maritime lawyers at SMSH frequently represent injured roustabouts. These laborers perform some of the most important functions on an oil rig. The functions they perform are often underappreciated, but without these, production on an oilrig would probably grind to a halt. These jobs are typically seen as requiring low skills that involve long hours, strenuous work, and often dangerous conditions. This job which is often described as the lowest level job on an oil rig, has now been named “the worst job in America“.

A roustabout’s work involves constant loading and unloading activities in often wet conditions. Roustabouts may be asked to pitch in with mechanical jobs and welding. They may spend a lot of time cleaning decks and equipment on the rig. The biggest qualification that you require to become a roustabout is the ability and willingness to undertake strenuous backbreaking hard work. You have to be alert even the midst of 12-hour long days, working 7 days a week.

The young men who are attracted to these jobs are lured by the comparatively higher pay packages for 6 months of work a year. It’s only once they begin employment on the rig that they understand that what the higher package is meant to compensate.

  • These workers are working on large oilrigs hundreds of miles from shore, in what is essentially a confined structure at the mercy of the elements.
  • When the seas are rough, the rig can sway, causing falls. Falls off a rig can almost certainly end in death.
  • There are any numbers of accidents that can take place on the rig.
  • The body can be pushed to the limit by the seemingly never-ending lifting, carrying, hauling, pulling bending, and twisting that seem to go on nonstop on a rig.

If a serious injury makes it impossible to continue work on a rig, a roustabout can quickly find that the benefits package does not last long, and that there is no hope for similar employment again.  That’s why it’s important that injured roustabouts consult with a maritime lawyer to understand all their rights under maritime law.

The maritime attorneys at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers represent injured workers on freighters, tankers, jack up and semi submersible rigs, cruise liners, and other employees who may qualify as Jones Act seamen. Contact us for a free legal consultation via email at info@smslegal.com.

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