Last July, three Texas construction firms were hit with nearly $800,000 in penalties from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The federal agency noted that the three companies put workers in tremendous danger, according to a story in the Texas Tribune. The agency also noted that the state has a lax safety culture that results in more work-related deaths and injuries in Texas than in any other state.
As oil prices decline, are producers cutting safety expenses? It may be too early to tell, but the death of three oil field workers last week in West Texas is troubling.
Surprisingly, the most dangerous state for oil and gas workers is not Texas. It's North Dakota. Oil and gas workers in North Dakota die on the jobs three times more frequently than the national average. In contrast, Texas was fifth on the list for workrelated deaths in the industry in 2011-2012, ranking behind West Virginia, New Mexico and Oklahoma in addition to North Dakota in oil and gas worker fatalities.
Will the decline in oil prices throughout the world affect Texas? Of course it will. Tax revenues will decrease, employment will decline and related businesses will be forced to scale back or shut their doors entirely. However, there may eventually be an upside to this decline in oil and gas revenue: a decrease in worksite and roadway accidents related to oil and gas.