Identifying Safety Issues Helps Prevent Workplace Injury In The Bakken

Preventing workplace injury in the Bakken oil fields means more than outfitting workers in safety clothing. Indeed, the best way to ensure safe working conditions is to look the area over for potential problems and design a safety program based on that survey.

Since operations in the Bakken require horizontal drilling into shale, workers employ lots of heavy equipment. In addition, tight sedimentary rock layers demand fluid injection for extracting oil and gas resources that do not easily flow.

Often drillers are reluctant to share information on what chemicals make up the fracking fluid leaving Bakken workers in the dark about possible hazardous exposure. Some fluids are under pressure and workers need to know when to move back.

Another concern at Bakken drilling sites is truck traffic. Often companies set up operations at night so workers and truckers need to make themselves visible with clothing and flashlights.

Making communication primary, teaching safety practices and conducting on-site safety training will reduce workplace injury in the Bakken.

According to NIOSH and OSHA, Bakken oil and gas workers can face numerous dangerous conditions including chemical exposure, confined spaces, explosions and fires, falls, vehicular accidents and being stuck in, struck-by and caught between hazards.

Despite less drilling due to depressed oil prices, there are still many individual small sites in the Bakken varying in operations and geology. Such diversity and remoteness makes it difficult for OSHA and other agencies to know whether there is proper oversight.

As the fracking industry in the Bakken matures, OSHA and NIOSH officials are identifying and learning more about Bakkenoil field hazards, such as silica exposure. Although, long-term health effects are still a puzzle, the agencies currently provide hazard alerts along with information on how to handle situations where silica exposure is likely.

Those who choose to work in the oil fields naturally have a heightened risk of injury. Contact us if you have a workplace injury and need assistance.