The Bakken oil boom in Bakken, North Dakota, has led to the United States
becoming the world's largest energy provider, but this unprecedented
success has come at a cost. The cost being at the expense of the oil workers'
lives and safety.
On the job fatalities in the oil fields have skyrocketed, and according to a
PBS News Hour report there have been 74 deaths in
Bakken since 2006. This number is also a conservative estimate due to the fact
that federal regulators have not administered a system that accounts for
all of the gas and oil related fatalities.
In the frantic pace to extract this valuable energy source, there has been
a lack of safety precautions and well executed infrastructure for oil
field workers. In a four-year time period between 2009 and 2013 there
have been over 9,000 injury claims in
Bakken. This has been, and continues to be, a serious concern in the area of
workers' compensation. This is particularly alarming because in North Dakota workers are left
with little, or no recourse, when injured in the fields. This is due to
the fact that the state generally prohibits an employee from suing its
employer on the grounds of negligence. Also, many of the workers injured
do not file claims because they are encouraged not to do so.
There are more and more rigs going up in
Bakken, some of which are outdated, but are still being used due to the demand.
In addition, there has been a flood of young, inexperienced workers arriving
in North Dakota. This combination of factors, along with an unregulated
and unsafe work environment, will continue to increase the number of injuries
If you have questions, concerns or have sustained an injury from working
in Bakken, please