After Oil Rig Explosion, Seriously Burned Worker Files Suit

A former pipefitter is suing Black Elk Energy LLC of Houston, after a 2012 oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico left him with serious burns covering much of his body as well as his face. In the same explosion, three other oil workers, who were employed by Grand Isle Shipyard, Inc. were killed.

The lawsuit contends that Black Elk Energy failed to properly train the oil rig workers as well as failed to provide adequate safety gear for workers; both omissions caused or contributed to the fatal rig explosion and causing permanent disfigurement to the former pipefitter.

The fixed platform rig was undergoing construction and maintenance at the time of the explosion. A separate lawsuit against Black Elk asserts that the company failed to take appropriate steps to depressurize a pipeline before work began, contributing or causing the fatal rig explosion.

Black Elk has contended that contractors working on the pipeline are to blame for the 2012 explosion. That claim is based on the report of a third party investigator retained by Black Elk who conducted an eight-month investigation into the cause of fatal blast.

The investigator found that flammable vapors ignited while workers were welding near an improperly isolated oil tank. The area was not safe for welding activity because of the presence of the flammable vapors and the workers should not have continued the project. Once the vapors ignited, three nearby tanks were quickly overcome by flames.

Source: Huffington Post, “Renato Dominguez, Worker Burned In Deadly 2012 Gulf Oil Platform Explosion, Sues Black Elk Energy,” October 30, 2013