Fatal Oil Field Accidents In North Dakota Bakken Decrease In 2015

We won’t know until next year whether the decrease in North Dakota Bakken fatal oil field accidents are from a lower worker census or from improved safety programs. What we do know is that the three oil and gas-related fatalities occurring in 2015 were lower than recent years; there were seven deaths in 2014 and 10 in 2013.

In past years, many fatalities occurred at Bakken oilfield service companies and more happened at new entrant work sites than established companies with robust safety programs. One reason for the difference in oil field accidents is that experienced workers practice better safety, have more seniority and are less subject to company layoffs.

Reviewing the 38 fatal work injuries reported for North Dakota in 2014, shows there were 10 (26%) from contact with equipment and objects and 17 (45%) from transportation accidents. Although previous years showed high incidence of workforce injuries, Bakken oil field injuries were proportionate to the number of workers.

According to a North Dakota Workforce Safety and Insurance spokesperson, when the workforce in Bakken oil field decreased so did the number of injured worker claims. And, with more experienced workers remaining, overall safety improves.

Despite the depressed oil activity, safety trainings have not decreased. In fact, trainings sponsored by the North Dakota Safety Council have increased 15%-20% yearly in the last seven years, including 2015. Not only safety officer participate in the training classes, participants include more ancillary workers such as Bakken work site supervisors who are not directly in charge of safety programming. Of course, safety experts hope that lower workplace injuries are a result of their efforts.

It's good news that Bakken workplace sites are getting safer. However, if you do experience a gas and oil field injury, please contact us. We are here to help.