Fatal On-The-Job Crashes More Likely For Oil Gas Workers

Men and women working in the oil and gas industry are more than eight times more likely than workers in other professions to be involved in a fatal on-the-job motor vehicle accident. Historically, more than one-third of those in the oil and gas who were killed in fatal workplace crashes worked right here in Texas.

With the shale boom in far away states like North Dakota and Pennsylvania, it’s likely that the distribution of fatal oilfield motor vehicle accidents is no longer as concentrated in Texas as it once was, but these types of accidents do happen. And they happen quite frequently.

Between 2003 and 2009, 202 oil and gas workers were killed in traffic accidents, according to a study recently published in Accident Analysis & Prevention. These crashes were the leading cause of workplace fatalities during that time period, making up a quarter of all fatal on-the-job injuries.

Over half of the motor vehicle fatalities involved pickup trucks – a truck for which the driver does not have to possess a commercial driver’s license (CDL). A lack of seatbelt use was cited as a consistent reason that these single-vehicle small-truck crashes were so deadly in the oil and gas industry.

Employees of small companies – those with 20 or fewer employees -were at a greater risk of being involved in a fatal work crash. Researchers involved in analyzing data for the study believe that is because small companies tend to lack a safety employee, someone dedicated specifically to safety training and enforcement among workers.

Source: FuelFix, “Oilfield workers at higher risk of fatal motor vehicle accidents,” January 18, 2012