What Is Offshore Safety Training Worth? Try $1.7 Million!

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in complying with safety regulations we forget that proper training for employees can become a factor in civil litigation as well.     For companies involved in offshore oil and gas, a key concern is the SEMS requirement that workers have the skills and knowledge to perform their jobs safely and effectively and that involves making sure they are properly trained.  Recently an appeals court upheld a ruling in a maritime case that improper training contributed to an incident.

The case, Marasa v. Atlantic Sounding, involved an injury on an anchor-handling vessel.  The original court found that the vessel was “unseaworthy” because  the crew was “incompetent for lack of training safely to perform the task at issue.”    In the Jones Act injury case w the court granted the seafarer $1.7 million.  This week that judgement was upheld by the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.   Thanks to Dennis Bryant for raising the case in his excellent maritime blog.

Time will tell whether training becomes a more common theme in injury cases offshore, but it could add importance to the need to evaluate workers to ensure that they have learned how to work safely and that they can demonstrate that knowledge.

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