Well intervention is defined by industry experts as the, “Ability to safely enter a well with well control for the purpose of doing a number of tasks other than drilling…” (PHX, 2015) In many ways it is form of maintenance and upkeep on a well, especially one that has been operating for a long time. The methods by which this is done vary according to the type of well and the operation being performed. Suffice it to say that almost all types of well intervention come with dangers and risks to those performing them. Whether they are wells at the bottom of the sea or another form of subsea well, it takes heavy-duty equipment, know-how, and a skilled hand to manage well intervention safely.
As such, there are risks for injuries and accidents. For example, chemicals are often pumped into the wells to block them or clean them. This means that chemical accidents are a possibility during well intervention. High-powered tubing is run into the wells to perform repairs, and this too can lead to a host of problems. Working on board platforms and the various vessels that maintain wells can also present workers with a long list of threats, and simply taking a helicopter from shore to the well platform comes with the risk of accident, injury and even death.
So, well intervention may be something that almost all industry experts point to as a proven remedy for a failing or low production well, but it can also create circumstances that can lead to an accident.
What can you do if you sustain an injury while working on a well intervention project? First of all, you should know that your work is considered to be “offshore” and as such it gives you the protection of such laws as the “maritime laws”. These include a collection of different laws such as the Jones Act, the admiralty laws, and more. When accidents occur, these are the laws that are put to use to provide victims with the fullest compensation possible.
The compensation, though, is only granted when the victim of an accident can prove that some sort of negligence led to the incident and subsequent injuries or losses. For example, during the well intervention it could be that someone who was not trained for the work and was given unsupervised tasks that led to a problem. This would be a clear case of negligence. There are also going to be less clear issues, such as workers who were pressured to work too many hours and then who suffered from fatigue and made mistakes.
This is a good illustration of why the best course of action is to sit down with a maritime lawyer to discuss the issue. They understand the most common points in any accident’s timeline where negligence may have played a key role in what was to unfold. They can work with you to determine if you have a viable claim and how to then proceed.
Well intervention is an emerging tactic used to keep wells working efficiently and safely, but the work is not without risk. Don’t assume that doing dangerous work makes you liable for any injuries that you sustain. There are federal safety standards and maritime laws that are all on your side. Should you be involved in an accident, it is wisest to get in touch with a maritime lawyer as soon as you can. They will understand what to do next in order to get the support and compensation that is yours under the laws governing your industry.