The oil and gas industry was established years ago, but it has experienced a recent boom. Has this boom led to more workplace injuries? Data from 2012 shows that as big as the industry boom, so too is the increase in both non-fatal and fatal injuries suffered by workers in this industry.
In the year 2011, there were 1,400 reported accidents that involved non-fatal injuries incurred at an oil and gas field. That number was a reported five-year low. Then, in the 12 months that followed, there were 2,600 non-fatal injuries reported. That number was a five-year high.
As for fatal injuries, in 2011, there were 112 oil and gas workers that lost their lives on the job, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2012, there were 138 deaths reported as occurring on an oil or gas field. That number was a seven-year high.
As noted above, with the increase in workplace accidents there was an increase in oil and gas employment. From 2006 to 2012, the number of individuals employed in the industry went from just under 40,000 to nearly 60,000. Is this the cause of the increased work-related injuries? We can't say definitively.
Although the number of nonfatal injuries in the oil and gas industry is lower than in most other private-sector industries, the number of fatal accidents is higher. John Snawder with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health said that oil and gas accidents often involve "DRT" injuries. DRT stands for "dead right there," a somewhat crude way of referencing the risk for fatality associated with these cases.
For those that are injured in a workplace accident, there is a place to turn for help. An Oklahoma workers' compensation attorney can help find a solution.
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Oil and gas fatalities spike with boom," Anya Litvak, Nov. 30, 2013