Oil rig workers are employed in one of the most dangerous industries in the U.S. economy, and they are often located in remote regions surrounded by water that can also impact working conditions. The entire working environment scenario can become unstable quickly. Energy companies in Texas are typically devoted to employee safety due to the hazardous nature of their work, and now Texas A & M University has conducted research in the area of sleep monitoring to help energy companies in their drive to provide effective safety programs for employees.

Working on oil rigs is much like any other maritime employment. Crews normally work around the clock with two separate teams covering 12-hour shifts. This schedule regularly leads to exhaustion for all workers both during each shift and over the long haul of being on the rig. Most employees work 20 days on with 10 days off per 30-day time period, and working 20 long shifts consecutively can leave any employee with low energy. This presents a safety concern for all rig managers and employing companies.

The new sleep therapy devices designed for maritime workers could be an excellent step in the right direction for improving exhaustion safety issues in all maritime work environments. The devices gauge how long the worker sleeps during off time, many of whom sleep eight of those hours. The results give management personnel a better read on how exhausted any particular worker may be at any point in their stay on the rig.

While this is a good tool for employers with comprehensive safety programs on their facilities, failure to take this safety precaution for employees now that it is available could help injured workers under maritime law when financial compensation is being negotiated or a case is forced to court. Employee safety is the ultimate priority for employers, and a lack of safety measures may be central to a claim.