In a study recently released, it was found that oil and gas workers are 8.5 times more likely to die in motor vehicle collisions on the job than people working in industries overall. In fact, the study found that oil and gas workers were more likely to die in on-the-job accidents than almost every other industry except for transportation and warehousing. And with so many smaller oil and gas firms (including well-servicing companies) in business, those employees working in the smaller companies are at an even higher risk.
The study, published by Accident Analysis & Prevention and done by researchers Kyla Retzer, Ryan Hill, and Stephanie Pratt, noted that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of work-related deaths in the United States. Significantly, more than a third of the oil field workers killed in traffic accidents while working on the job between 2003 and 2009 were working in the state of Texas. And the 2009 end date means that the analysis done was before the most recent shale drilling boom that has taken over our state’s focus on oil and gas production. Texas, of course, has the largest number of active rigs than any other state in the nation.
The data analyzed came from United States Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. The researchers compared the risk of dying in motor vehicle accidents in this industry to other major industries and among different types and sizes of oil and gas extraction companies. Motor vehicle collisions accounted for 28% of all work-related deaths among people in the energy industry during the 2003 and 2009 time period. It was noted that more than half of the fatalities involved pick-up trucks – a vehicle often driven by oil and gas workers. Additionally, there appeared to be a more prevalent lack of seatbelt usage when compared to the rest of society.