No one can deny that the Bakken oil field boom has done great things for
North Dakota and Montana. While neighboring areas struggle with economic
woes, communities near the oil fields are enjoying an unprecedented economic
boom that has sent ripples through an area that badly needed an economic revival.
Bakken oil production has also created a new era of energy self-sufficiency
for the United States, with an estimated 7.4 million barrels of oil believed
to be available in American portion of the 170,000-square-mile oil fields
which stretches from northern South Dakota north far into Canada. Half
of all US oil production takes place in the Bakken oil field region.
However, the boom has not come without a terrible price in death and human
suffering, with serious accidents and deaths among workers in the Bakken
oil fields frighteningly common.
Worker deaths at the fields occur at an average of one worker death every
according to an in-depth study by the Center for Investigative Reporting.
As of June, 2015, at least 76 deaths had been attributed to accidents in
the fields, while serious accidents in the region are believed to rank
in the thousands.
However, the actual number of both deaths and serious injuries is believed
to be much higher than the reported numberdue to the way the Occupational
Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) records industry-specific death
and accident data.
Drilling for oil has long been identified by OSHA as one of the most dangerous
jobs in America. Despite this, however, OSHA has as few as eight work place investigators
to cover the entire 148,000-square-mile area of North and South Dakota,
which includes more than 12,000 producing wells in North Dakota alone.
This leaves worker safety up to the companies running the well, which have
a less-than-stellar record of forcing workers to take unnecessary risks
in the name production by dangling economic incentives for increased production
at any cost, regardless of worker safety.
This has led to the creation of a dangerous work environment for many,
many workers who have the stark choice of working in a potentially life-threatening
job or not working at all.
To complicate matters, the companies operating the rigs intentionally structure
ownership and management in a multi-tiered system of companies, contractors,
and sub-contractors to make it nearly impossible to track down who is
ultimately responsible for a worker’s death or serious injury.
Workers compensation is only one small piece of the total compensation
due you in the event of an accident, and will not provide the long-term
relief your or your loved ones will require in the event of serious, on-the-job
injury or death.
When accidents happen, workers and their families need a
competent, experienced legal team with experience in oil field accidents who will fight for their rights
and for fair compensation.
If you’ve been the victim of an accident or injury while on the job,
contact us today and see what we can do to help put your and your family on the road to recovery.