Lydia Gilbertson | Shale Plays Media Google+
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) is going to increase their presence in the North Dakota oil patch for the next month in a “safety blitz.” The organization has been present in the area since 2010.
Workplace fatalities have been an ongoing issue in North Dakota, but not only in the oil industry. Construction workplace fatalities have also gone up. Of the 34 fatalities reported in the state last year, 21 were oil and gas related, and 13 were associated with the construction industry. However, construction fatalities could also be attributed to the oil and gas industry. The influx in construction work is a direct result of the infrastructure needed to support the recent population boom due to the increased presence of oil and gas industry in the state.
The additional OSHA staff members will be conducting more inspections at worksites and will include more of a focus on construction sites than in the past.
Kathrine Lymn from the Dickinson Press reports:
According to Brooks’ records, apparent causes of oilfield deaths have included falling from a rig, bursting into flames after getting soaked in oil, suffering blunt force trauma after a high-pressure release from a fracking valve, being struck by power tongs on a rig and being exposed to hydrogen sulfide gas. “
The construction-related deaths are associated with fall hazards, “struck-by” hazards, and trench cave-ins.
Eric Kellelea of the Williston Herald reports:
“These industries are inherently dangerous, and workers are exposed to multiple hazards every day. Their safety must not be compromised because demand for production keeps increasing,” said Eric Brooks, OSHA’s area director in Bismarck. “Workers are coming to these growing industries to find jobs, not catastrophic injury and preventable death. These employers have a legal responsibility to protect every employee that works for them.”