Louisiana Bill Passed to Heighten Offshore Worker Safety Goes into Effect January 2024
One of the most harrowing things about offshore work in Louisiana is the chance of potential falling off of a rig or transport vehicle and being lost out in the water. Indeed, while in the modern world there are many new and improved safety measures that can make offshore work safer, nothing can combat the violence of the water and the dangers of being lost or drowning on the job. This has been especially true in Louisiana, where multiple offshore worker accidents have claimed numerous lives over recent years.
One such accident empowered a Louisiana family to fight for more protections for offshore workers, particularly locator devices for those workers who might get lost in the water. That accident occurred in 2008, when Jacob Matt was killed after the helicopter he was traveling in as a passenger crashed in the Gulf. Jacob’s body was found washed up in Galveston, Texas, approximately 5 days after he went missing. Tragically, Jacob’s autopsy revealed that he was likely alive for some time in the water after he went missing, but had no locator device for rescue crews to find him. As a result, Jacob was never found and was killed in the water.
After Matt Jacob’s fatal helicopter accident in the Gulf, his family pressed for measures to require offshore workers to wear tracker beacons on their life vests. As a result of their efforts, Jacob’s Law was passed in 2011, but it did not require companies to make tracker beacons on life vests mandatory for workers, due to the hefty price of tracker beacons at the time. Now, in 2023, House Bill 398, which was passed by the Louisiana legislature and was signed into law on June 7, will finally make tracker beacons a requirement for offshore workers in Louisiana.
HB 398 appears to have been well-received widely by both worker safety advocates and the offshore industry. In fact, Louisiana Oil and Gas Association (LOGA) representative Mike Moncla stated of the new worker safety legislation, “We felt that it was a good bill to get behind. L.O.G.A. certainly, supported the bill with green cards all the way through the session and we are happy that it ended up on the governor’s desk.” On the worker-side of the legislation, Misty Pitre, the sister of offshore worker Quinon Pitre, who was killed in the horrific Seacor accident, stated, “It helps my heart to know that these people will have the extra layer of protection that if this kind of tragedy were to ever happen again, they can be found in a timely manner and no family member will ever have to live with not knowing where their loved one is.”
If you were injured in a workplace accident in Louisiana, contact the experienced Louisiana workers’ compensation lawyers at Lunsford Baskin & Priebe. The experienced Louisiana workers’ compensation lawyers at Lunsford Baskin & Priebe offer a free and confidential consultation to learn about your case and to see if they can help fight to get you benefits due. Contact Lunsford Baskin & Priebe and speak to an experienced Louisiana workers’ compensation lawyer about your case today.