OIL AND GAS
CDC: Oil and Gas Industry’s Annual Fatality Rate “Significantly Decreased” During Boom
A CDC report published in late May found that although the work force for the oil and gas extraction industry doubled in size during 2003–2013, and the number of drilling rigs increased by 71 percent, the industry’s fatality rate “significantly decreased” during the 11-year boom. CDC’s analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data shows that the annual occupational fatality rate for the industry decreased by 36.3 percent from 2003 to 2013, even though the number of worker deaths increased by 27.6 percent. According to the report, the rate for fatalities caused by contact with objects and equipment decreased the most—60.8 percent—but transportation incidents are still the leading cause of death, with 40.3 percent of fatalities in the industry attributed to transportation events. Other frequent causes of oil and gas worker deaths include fires and explosions; exposure to harmful substances or environments; and slips, trips, and falls. CDC found that the highest fatality rate was among workers employed by drilling contractors at 44.6 per 100,000 workers. Well-servicing companies followed with the next highest rate of 27.9, and oil and gas operators came in at a rate of 11.6. “Occupational safety and health researchers need to continue and enhance surveillance efforts and identify risk factors for different types of fatal injuries among different sectors of the oil and gas extraction industry,” the report reads. “The data from surveillance efforts will be useful to industry safety and health networks and can be used to create targeted interventions to reduce worker fatalities.” For more information, see the CDC report.