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Know Your Benefits Under the OCSLA

Oil Rig Workers & OCSLA

Are you an oil rig worker in the Santa Barbara Channel? If you work in the Dos Quadros oil field, you have a dangerous job. You work long shifts, and you deal with heavy equipment and highly combustible materials. And these are just some of the reasons why oil rig work is considered one of the riskiest professions in the United States. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), oil rig workers are seven times more likely to die on the job than the average American worker.

Many offshore oil rig workers are covered by the Outer Continental Shelf Land Act (OCSLA). The OCSLA extends Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA) benefits to non-seamen who work on submerged lands that are under U.S. jurisdiction. These benefits include medical care, disability compensation, vocational rehabilitation and death benefits.

Your Benefits Under the OCSLA

  • Medical Benefits: If you are injured on the job, your medical care is covered by the OCSLA.  Your OCSLA benefits will pay for doctor’s visits, hospital says, surgical costs, medical supplies and equipment, medication, physical therapy, and any treatment by specialists that is necessary for you to recover from your work-related injury. You may choose your own physician, as long as the physician is currently authorized by the Department of Labor to render medical care under the LHWCA. Chiropractic care is not usually covered. You may also be compensated for the cost of travel associated with your treatment.
  • Disability Compensation: If your work-related injury affects your ability to work, you will be eligible for biweekly-disability payments. The amount of payment will depend whether you are fully or partially disabled and whether your disability is temporary or permanent.
  • Vocational Rehabilitation: If your disability makes it impossible for you to return to your job, you may qualify for rehabilitation services through the U.S. Department of Labor.  Services include employment evaluation, employment counseling, testing, retraining, and job placement.
  • Death Benefits: If an OCSLA worker dies from a work-related injury, his widow and children eligible for death benefits. If he was not married, these benefits are paid to a parent, sibling or other eligible survivor.  The family may also receive up to $3,000 for burial expenses.

Injured oil rig workers who are covered by the OCSLA are eligible for benefits regardless of who is at fault for the injury. This means that you can qualify for compensation even if your injury was partly or completely your fault. 


The Steps You Need To Take

Notify Your Employer

Your first step after an injury is to notify your employer. You will need to ask your employer for two forms:

  • LS-201: Notice of Employees' Injury or Death
  • LS-1: Request for Examination and/or Treatment

Form LS-201 gives your employer written notice of your injury. It must be filled out and returned to your employer within 30 days of the injury. If you don’t fill out the form within 30 days, you could lose your benefits.

Form LS-1 authorizes medical treatment from the doctor of your choice. If it is an emergency, you can see a doctor without the form. But, you should fill out the form as soon as you are able to. If you don’t fill out the form, your medical bills will not be covered.

Get Medical Treatment

Don’t wait to get medical treatment. Call your doctor and make an appointment as soon as possible after filling out Form LS-1. If it is an emergency, get medical attention right away. You can fill out form LS-1 after you receive treatment.

File a Written Claim for Compensation (Form LS-203)

If your injury leaves you unable to work for a significant period of time, you may request OCSLA disability compensation. In order to request these benefits, you must fill out Form LS-203: Employee's Claim for Compensation.  The form must be completed within one year after the date of injury or your last paycheck, whichever is later. Give the form and a copy of your medical report to your employer. If you are eligible for benefits, compensation will begin within 14 days of submitting the form.

Protect Yourself!

Many people think that filing a form with their employer is enough. You should also mail a copy of each form to the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs. The address is:




Disclaimer: Please understand these discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. This testimonial, endorsement and/or discussion does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, your particular case/ situation and/or this particular case/ situation. 

William Turley
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