It’s called the blue wall, a culture of non-reporting that has allegedly developed within the ranks of Nabors Industries Inc.’s oil rig workers. It was this obstinate culture of silence that the daughter of a former rig worker claims she faced when trying to uncover the truth of her father’s injury. Her struggle led her on a complicated path to finding justice for her father, and their story may be important for Houston oil rig workers to hear.
What Houston Oil Rig Workers Could Learn from an Alaskan Rig Veteran
It was October 2011 as a 62-year-old veteran of oil drilling was making his rounds at a rig on Alaska’s North Slope. It was there that he slipped on a patch of oil-soaked mud and fell to the deck, hitting his head in the process. Days later he was flown to Anchorage, Alaska after showing symptoms of a head injury. It was at this time that he called to report his injury to his employer, and that’s where his struggle began. He was informed that he had been laid off.
Months after the incident, the 62-year-old’s daughter came to Alaska to check on her father. She found the man barely able to speak and walk. She soon brought him back to Bakersfield, CA to undergo treatment for his brain injury in 2012. Though the medical attention saved the man’s life, he still sustained permanent injuries. To make the blow even worse, Nabors denied the man’s workers compensation.
The daughter of the 62-year-old quit law school and became a private investigator as she helped her father in his lawsuit against Nabors. The company claimed it had not received notification about the accident until July of 2012—long after the claims deadline—but the company’s own records recorded the call received from the man on October 16, 2011. The Alaska Workers’ Compensation Board saw this evidence and ruled that the man was owed $80,000 in back pay and expenses, and that he is to receive limited worker’s comp.
This story is a harrowing tale that needs to be acknowledged by everyone working on a rig. Nabors is the world’s largest land-based drilling company with rigs all over the world. The company is based here in Houston, and it has rigs all over Texas. But even this gigantic company must be held accountable for its workers’ safety. This is why it’s important to contact an attorney after an oil rig accident happens. Fast action could be the only way an injured worker can find justice, so don’t let the “blue wall” keep you from the compensation you deserve.