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Underwater Welding Accidents

Have you or a loved one been hurt in an underwater welding accident? Underwater welding requires extensive skills and experience in welding and diving. Underwater welding is a dangerous job with one of the highest injury and fatality rates across all professions.

Underwater welders work in extremely hazardous conditions. One mistake could have devastating consequences and result in lifelong injuries and/or death. Negligence is a major factor in many of these underwater welding accidents.

Underwater welders and their families are granted numerous protections under maritime law. Reach out to a maritime personal injury lawyer if you or a loved one has been injured in an underwater welding accident.

Willie D. Powells III understands the physical, emotional, and financial trauma that results from underwater welding accidents and wrongful death. Someone is liable for these accidents and resulting injuries. Reach out to Willie D. Powells III today to allow an experienced maritime personal injury lawyer to fight for you and your family to get you the compensation that you deserve.

What is Underwater Welding?

What is Underwater Welding?

Underwater welding was invented in 1932 by a Russian engineer. The US Navy developed a program in the 1940s. Underwater welding is used in numerous job applications, including the repair of pipelines, bridges, oil rig platforms, ships, and other infrastructures.

Underwater welders are highly skilled in both welding and diving. These skills require extensive practice to perfect the trade on shore before tackling underwater jobs.

Underwater welding, also known as hyperbaric welding, is a skilled job that requires workers to perform welds at elevated pressures. Workers may perform welds in deep water, shallow water, or pressurized enclosures.

Workers use the term ‘underwater welding’ when referring to jobs in the water. Underwater welders may be tasked with the responsibility to fix pipes and rigs at depths of up to 400m beneath the surface.

What is Underwater Welding?

  • Flux Cored Arc Welding
  • Friction Welding
  • Metal Arc Welding

Welding in pressurized enclosures or shallow water is generally referred to as hyperbaric welding or dry welding.

  • Spot Welding
  • Chamber Welding
  • Pressure Welding
  • Gas Metal Arc Welding (MIG)
  • Plasma Arc Welding

Underwater welders work both inland and offshore, depending on their current project with the oil company. Underwater welders are often tasked with highly dangerous offshore oil rig and/or pipeline jobs.

In some circumstances, underwater welders are tasked with moving structures to shallow water or to another area, before performing welds. However, there are many instances in which performing deep water welds are necessary, for example, when emergency welding is needed.
Deep water welding is also more cost-efficient for employers than removing structures from the water.

What are the Risks of Underwater Welding?

Underwater welders face numerous hazards in a high-risk environment. Risk factors exist that significantly increase the risk of occurrence of serious accidents, injuries, and/or fatalities.

  • Water Pressure
  • Diving Equipment Malfunctions
  • Confined Spaces
  • Gas Pressure
  • Freezing

Underwater welders face additional risks when required to work in remote offshore locations. These assignments may include pipes deep underneath the ocean surface or oil rigs.

Electric shock is one of most of the most hazardous threats to underwater welders. There are numerous safety precautions that are required to prevent these occurrences. Cables must be completely insulated and inspected regularly for safe operation.

Underwater equipment must be inspected and equipment with a ground fault interrupter. Underwater welders are also required to wear special waterproof equipment at all times to prevent electrocution.

Welders are exposed to a high number of fumes, radioactive substances, and other hazardous compounds. Exposure to these compounds could result in damage to the eyes, nose, skin, lungs, and/or sore throat. Long-term exposure to welding fumes also significantly increases the risk of cancer development.

Explosions are an ongoing and potentially fatal risk for underwater welders. Hydrogen and oxygen can form gas bubbles. There is a potential for an explosion beneath the surface when these gas bubbles collect underwater.

It is not common for marine wildlife to attack divers, but it is an ongoing threat. Sharks are attracted to oil rig platforms and underwater welders are at risk of deadly attacks.

Causes of Fatal Injury in Underwater Welding Accidents

Causes of Fatal Injury in Underwater Welding Accidents

Drowning and decompression sickness are the most common causes of fatal underwater welding accidents. These incidents are generally a result of inadequate equipment, training, or negligence on behalf of another crew member.

Arterial Gas Embolism

An arterial gas embolism occurs when air bubbles enter the arterial circulation and become trapped. This is a critical and life-threatening situation that requires immediate intervention and if left untreated results in death.

Decompression sickness, also known as diver’s disease, occurs when a diver suffers inhalation of harmful gases due to pressure changes under the water. Decompression sickness occurs when an underwater worker swims to the surface too quickly. Dissolved gases are then displaced to other parts of the body.

Employers are required to employ preventative measures to guarantee workers experience a safe ascension from the water. This equipment includes using technology to calculate safe guidelines for decompression.

There are numerous incidents that could occur and put underwater welders at risk of fatal drowning. These could include SCUBA gear failure, power supply issues, entrapment, or another unfortunate event.

For example, a welder’s oxygen supply cord could potentially become twisted or damaged underwater.

Failure to inspect, maintain, and repair safety equipment is the number one cause of fatal accidents for underwater welders. This includes regular inspections of SCUBA gear, equipment insulation, and other life-saving preventative measures.

Lack of sufficient safety equipment can result in serious injury. Underwater welders should be equipped with the right gear for their job assignments and emergency safety supplies. For example, there should be an emergency scuba tank available in the event of a main oxygen supply failure.

The most frustrating element of fatal underwater welding accidents is that the majority of these incidents could have been prevented. Maritime workers and their families have legal rights when preventable deaths occur under several acts, including the Jones Act and the Death on the High Seas Act.

There are several parties who may be liable for fatal underwater welding accidents occur. These individuals and/or entities may include employers, fellow welders, and/or equipment manufacturers.

Why Should You Contact an Underwater Welding Lawyer?

Underwater welding lawyers are legal professionals who specialize in the complexities of maritime law. Maritime laws were developed to handle all legal issues that occur on or near the water. These laws allow additional protections that do not exist for land workers.

It is crucial that you reach out to an underwater welding lawyer as soon as possible if you have been injured in a welding accident, inland or offshore. Accidents that occur at sea are governed by a different legal system than mainstream personal injury law and require representation from a lawyer who specializes in these areas.

An underwater welding lawyer can help you and your family get you the compensation that you deserve for your injuries or a loved one’s wrongful death.

First, your lawyer will review the unique factors in your case to determine which parties are at fault for your injuries. Your lawyer will then investigate further and gather the evidence needed to prove liability.

Your lawyer can also handle all correspondence with the insurance company, your employer, and any other applicable parties.

Contact a lawyer who is experienced in maritime law and will work to get you all of the compensation that you deserve. Compensation may be due for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and punitive damages.

Houston Underwater Welding Lawyer

Willie D. Powells III is an underwater welding lawyer who has extensive experience and knowledge of maritime law. Maritime workers in Houston choose Willie D. Powells III for his unmatched compassionate demeanor and skilled legal services.

Willie D. Powells III genuinely cares about the workers and families that he represents. He understands the emotional, physical, and financial damages that result from an underwater welding accident.

Willie D. Powells demonstrates his commitment to his clients and provides close communication throughout the entire legal process. His bold and caring nature is what drives him to fight for his personal injury and wrongful death clients and their families.

You deserve maximum compensation when a preventable accident results in injury. The maritime legal process is complex. Employers and ship operators will do everything in their power to negate liability for your injuries. Do not let your employer get away with their negligence.

You do not need to navigate this process alone. Contact the firm today and allow Willie D. Powells to build a case to get your family maximum compensation for your injuries.

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