What Role Does Fatigue Play In A Bakken Oil Field Work Accident?

When there is a work accident, companies want to drill down and find the root cause to prevent further occurrence. Usually contributing factors such as poor supervision, not following procedures or insufficient training are easy to identify. What is more challenging, however, is determining the role that fatigue played in causing the accident.

Because many industries consider fatigue normal in human operations, accident investigations may ignore or dismiss it as a contributing factor to a workplace injury. Yet, the National Sleep Foundation says that losing two hours of sleep causes the same bodily impairment as a 0.05% blood alcohol level. Fatigue can cause poor judgment such as carelessly operating heavy equipment or power tools, omitting a process step or improperly installing fall protection equipment in workplaces such as the Bakken.

Fatigue management is a strategy that focuses overcoming sleep deprivation, stress and poor nutrition which contribute to fatigue, carelessness and attention deficit. In the Bakken, employees often work long hours in remote areas and their living quarters may a pickup truck or RV. Perhaps, this works for short-term assignments but for longer periods, workers’ fitness for duty suffers.

Better would be providing housing with suitable sleep quarters, nutritious appealing food, cafeteria, safe surroundings, recreational options, and easy-to-access medical care. Improving workers’ living conditions helps eliminate factors causing fatigue so that Bakken oil and gas workers perform their jobs safely and effectively.

In the Bakken, each worker experiences fatigue differently and its effects on mood, drive, performance, awareness, attention, problem solving, creativity, resilience, learning, retention and health are unique. Please contact us if your company’s workplace conditions set you up for a work injury in the Bakken.