Safety Incentives And Work Accidents In The Bakken

Whether safety incentives prevent work accidents in the Bakken is a question that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will try to answer. Some believe that bonus programs rewarding people for working a certain span of time without a safety incident actually undermines safety. OSHA will compile and analyze safety plans in the North Dakota and the Bakken region to determine if safety incentives played a part in work accidents.

Although rewarding bonuses for unblemished safety records seems like a good thing to do, it also pressures a worker who incurs a workplace injury to not report it. According to one safety consultant, there are instances where people encourage workers not to report hazards or injuries fearing they will not qualify for a bonus. In addition to focusing on all industries in Montana and South Dakota, OSHA’s review includes North Dakota where the Bakken oil and gas industry account for 50% of workplace fatalities.

After OSHA officials complete their research, they will share information with employers on which incentive programs appear effective and which are counterproductive. While there are some oil and gas companies in the Bakken who consider safety incentive programs worthwhile, there are others who are moving away from this type of program.

As an alternative, some companies in the Bakken, are adopting the near-miss program originally targeted at the offshore oil and gas industry. In the near-miss program workers receive incentives, like extra days off, for reporting near-miss incidents and identifying hazards. This allows companies to take corrective action before a work accident occurs.

In the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2014, North Dakota witnessed 11 workplace fatalities with 6 from the Bakken oil and gas industry. Please contact us if you sustained a harmful work accident in the Bakken.