Black Elk Energy, the operator of an oil platform, is facing criminal charges in connection with a November 2012 explosion. The explosion occurred off the coast of Louisiana. It killed three workers, and left others seriously injured.
A U.S. Attorney from the Eastern District of Louisiana filed a six-count criminal complaint against the company, which is based out of Houston. The complaint says that the company and its contractors failed to comply with federal safety regulations on the oil platform. In 2013, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Regulations issued a report in November 2013 that said that storage tanks were not properly purged of flammable liquid before the crew began welding nearby. An attorney for the company declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Companies that fail to follow safety regulations can endanger the lives of their employees. The employees can choose to sue them for their damages or may choose to file workers’ compensation claims against the company. As this lawsuit illustrates, in serious cases the company may also face criminal charges. These charges could result in large monetary damages being paid by the company, and some employees could face jail time.
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