For oil and gas workers, it can be a deadly job
America's new energy boom has a dangerous side as the sector's fatal injuries reach a record high.
Are conditions becoming safer for the American worker? Overall, yes. But certainly not if you're in the oil and gas industry.
Preliminary figures released late last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed 4,383 fatal work injuries in the U.S. last year, down from 4,693 in 2011. The 2012 numbers represent the second-lowest preliminary total of work-related deaths since the BLS first began compiling that data in 1992.
However, fatal work injuries in the private mining sector rose in 2012, led by an increase in deaths among workers in the oil and gas extraction industry, which were higher by 23% last year to 138 -- a new annual record in that category.
Those numbers reflect the growing boom in oil and gas work in the U.S. and how the number of jobs created in that industry has greatly outpaced new employment elsewhere.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported jobs in the oil and natural gas industry increased by more than 162,000 positions between 2007 and last year, a rise of 40%. Compare that to job creation in the rest of the private sector, which rose by about 1%, or 1 million jobs, during that same time period.
But Julia Bell, spokeswoman for the Independent Petroleum Association of America, told industry website Energy Wire that while the current oil and gas boom means more workers, it also means more workers being placed in harm's way. "When industries expand rapidly, there are, tragically, incidents that also occur," she said.
Peg Seminario, safety and health director of the AFL-CIO, is calling for a closer look at hazards and other issues in the oil and gas industry, including an investigation into whether some employers and contractors are putting workers in unnecessarily dangerous situations.
U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said while the lower workplace fatality data were encouraging, there's a very long way to go. "To me these aren't just numbers and data," he said in a press statement, "they are fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, who will never come home again.
"We can and must do better," he added. "Job gains in oil and gas and construction have come with more fatalities, and that is unacceptable."
Everyone who was hired before him has quit. My bro is ready to quit. He is looking for other jobs and will soon leave.
High turnover is the main reason for so many 'greenhorns'. NOT BECAUSE OF INDUSTRY EXPANSION. Its because of UNSAFE, HORRID working conditions.
A long prison sentence for well/mine OWNERS when their workers get killed would fix this problem.
I wonder what the increase in work related fatalities for Teacher's is?
They added 162,000 jobs to this industry. Would this be expected?
MSN should report the facts rather than their agenda....
A lot people having going to the oil fields in NW North Dakota, it's good money but you will have horrible working conditions, expensive housing or no housing, crime ridden man camps, and don't forget about the brutal winters up there.
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