Whether safety incentives prevent
work accidents in the Bakken is a question that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration
will try to answer. Some believe that bonus programs rewarding people
for working a certain span of time without a safety incident actually
undermines safety. OSHA will compile and analyze safety plans in the North
Dakota and the Bakken region to determine if safety incentives played
a part in work accidents.
Although rewarding bonuses for unblemished safety records seems like a
good thing to do, it also pressures a worker who incurs a workplace injury
to not report it. According to one safety consultant, there are instances
where people encourage workers not to report hazards or injuries fearing
they will not qualify for a bonus. In addition to focusing on all industries
in Montana and South Dakota, OSHA’s
review includes North Dakota where the Bakken oil and gas industry account for
50% of workplace fatalities.
After OSHA officials complete their research, they will share information
with employers on which incentive programs appear effective and which
are counterproductive. While there are some oil and gas companies in the
Bakken who consider safety incentive programs worthwhile, there are others
who are moving away from this type of program.
As an alternative, some companies in the Bakken, are adopting the near-miss
program originally targeted at the offshore oil and gas industry. In the
near-miss program workers receive incentives, like extra days off, for
reporting near-miss incidents and identifying hazards. This allows companies
to take corrective action before a work accident occurs.
In the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2014, North Dakota witnessed 11
workplace fatalities with 6 from the Bakken oil and gas industry. Please
contact us if you sustained a harmful work accident in the Bakken.