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U.S. oil and gas boom lead to more accidents and worker deaths

In life it can sometimes seem like good news must always be accompanied by bad. That appears to be the case, at least for now, in regards to the oil and gas industries in the U.S.

On one hand, it is good news when there is a boom in an industry that opens up employment opportunities. With the rate of employment picking up in the field, however, that can mean a drop in workplace safety. Work safety reports suggest that workers need to be better protected in the oil and gas industry.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that the numbers of nonfatal workplace injuries as well as fatalities in the growing and dangerous field have both increased as the need for work has grown. It makes sense: more work to do, more workers needed, and more chance that accidents will happen. But safety measures must be implemented to reasonably protect workers from accident and injuries.

A specific area of work safety within the oil industry that lawmakers, safety officials and employers must address is transportation. Accident numbers indicate that work injuries are often suffered as the result of transportation accidents. Employees will drive on rough terrain as part of the job and will too often get hurt because of that task. In fact, a reported 40 percent of fatalities in the field are transportation-related.

Clearly, more training and strict adherence to transportation safety rules are needed to reduce the rate of fatal work accidents. This is just one point of apparent problems in the oil and gas industry. Overall, workers in the fields are significantly more likely to get killed on the job than private workers.

Whether a worker is injured on an oil field, a construction site or due to repetitive stress of his job, a workers' compensation lawyer is an invaluable source of information and guidance. Suffering from pain or illness related to one's job is stressful and scary, but there can be help and hope around the corner.

 

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Oil and gas fatalities spike with boom," Anya Litvak, Nov. 30, 2013

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