Texas: Oil Well Maintenance Worker Was Not a “Seaman” Under Jones Act

Texas: Oil Well Maintenance Worker Was Not a “Seaman” Under Jones Act

A oil-rig “floorman,” whose duties included assembling, cleaning, and disassembling blowout preventers and piping on oil rigs, was not a “seaman” under the Jones Act [46 U.S.C.S. §§ 30104-30105] since he failed to demonstrate a substantial connection to a vessel in navigation, as the Jones Act required for seaman status, held a Texas appellate court recently.  Observing that injury aboard a vessel in navigation was not sufficient to demonstrate seaman status, the court held as a matter of law that the employee's duties did not expose him to the perils of the sea.  The employee usually performed his job on land-based oil wells. The court held that here, working aboard a maintenance rig located 100 feet from shore, did not expose him to the perils of the sea. Even if he performed his work aboard a vessel in navigation, his duties did not require him to travel to sea and he returned to shore after his work on the vessel was complete.

Reported by Thomas A. Robinson, J.D.

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See Hartley v. Williams Southern Co., L.L.C., 2013 Tex. App. LEXIS 10445 (Aug. 20, 2013) [2013 Tex. App. LEXIS 10445 (Aug. 20, 2013)]

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 146.02 [146.02]

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law.

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