Workers Compensation in the Bakken Oil Field

The Bakken oil boom in Bakken, North Dakota, has led to the United States becoming the world's largest energy provider, but this unprecedented success has come at a cost. The cost being at the expense of the oil workers' lives and safety.

On the job fatalities in the oil fields have skyrocketed, and according to a PBS News Hour report there have been 74 deaths in Bakken since 2006. This number is also a conservative estimate due to the fact that federal regulators have not administered a system that accounts for all of the gas and oil related fatalities.

In the frantic pace to extract this valuable energy source, there has been a lack of safety precautions and well executed infrastructure for oil field workers. In a four-year time period between 2009 and 2013 there have been over 9,000 injury claims in Bakken. This has been, and continues to be, a serious concern in the area of workers' compensation. This is particularly alarming because in North Dakota workers are left with little, or no recourse, when injured in the fields. This is due to the fact that the state generally prohibits an employee from suing its employer on the grounds of negligence. Also, many of the workers injured do not file claims because they are encouraged not to do so.

There are more and more rigs going up in Bakken, some of which are outdated, but are still being used due to the demand. In addition, there has been a flood of young, inexperienced workers arriving in North Dakota. This combination of factors, along with an unregulated and unsafe work environment, will continue to increase the number of injuries and fatalities.

If you have questions, concerns or have sustained an injury from working in Bakken, please contact us.