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Profit trumped safety on Shell drilling rig, suit claims

Royal Dutch Shell is the target of a lawsuit filed last month in federal court. The events that sparked the legal action didn't happen in either Texas or Louisiana, but they could have and so we feel readers of our blog might find it of interest.

At the heart of the suit is a woman's claim that she suffered a 22 percent disability from a broken leg due to a general attitude of negligence regarding safety on Shell's barge, the Arctic Challenger. She also alleges that she is due recovery as a result of Jones Act violations. She also seeks compensation for pain and suffering.

According to court documents, the woman was working as a fire watch supervisor when she suffered her injury several weeks into her job. A ladder collapsed as she was attempting to secure a fire blanket over beams overhead.

She says she and other members of the crew were being pushed by managers to hurry to get the drilling rig ready for the 2012 season in the Arctic. She suggests that an unrealistic schedule of retrofitting work led to a general culture that resulted in sloppy labor and a broad disregard for worker safety. She says that led directly to her suffering her injury.

Her suit offers the view that specific to her job as a fire watch supervisor, "There didn't seem to be any one person who knew where and when the welding projects would be going on, and there seemed to be a culture of feeling that while a fire watch was going to be required, there was no respect given to the person who was going to do it."

Source: Courthouse News Service, "Ship Worker Blames Shell for Broken Leg," Nick McCann, June 23, 2015

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