Federal health officials will soon launch an investigation into the many hazards presented to American oil and gas workers. Scientists from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s Denver office will head the investigation, distributing questionnaires to 500 oil field workers in three states, including Texas.
Among the questions addressed by the study will be:
- What types of injuries workers have suffered while on-the-job
- What kind and how much training they have had
- Whether they have been offered a bonus by their company for not reporting an injury over a certain period of time
According to federal statistics, oil field accidents have been responsible for 20 deaths in Colorado alone between 2003 and 2015, and many more throughout the country. Critics claim that there is not enough oversight of the gas and oil industry, with no regular inspections performed by OSHA unless there is a worker complaint or death.
While researchers already knew that the fatality rate was high among oil workers, they will use this new information to reach a better understanding of the dangers they face every day. It will also help bring attention to the concerns of workers so that they can be better addressed in the future.
Oil field work is considered one of the country’s most dangerous occupations, responsible for a fatality rate that was two-and-a-half times higher than the construction industry and seven times higher than the general labor industry between 2005 and 2009.
The oil industry will cooperate fully with the study, and will allow the institute onto well sites to conduct the survey.
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