Bakken Oil Field Deaths Prompt Federal Investigation

Mother Jones reports that one person dies every six weeks in the Bakken oil field region. This high rate of death in the Bakken oil field region, as well as numerous workplace injuries at other oil fields, has prompted scientists from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a division of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), to launch an investigation into the causes of accidents and injuries suffered by oil field workers.

According to the Mother Jones report, sometime in 2016 the NIOSH scientists will issue a questionnaire to 500 oil field workers in Texas, North Dakota, and one other state that has yet to be determined. The Mother Jones report states:

As part of the new study, workers will be asked the hours they work and whether they wear protective gear as well as whether employers typically provide written safety policies and make their employees aware of their right to stop a job when they spot a potential safety hazard.

The CDC's official notice of the study indicates that it began collecting written comments from the public this past July. It will continue to take written comments from the public through to September 8, 2015. The study will consist of five modules, including facilitating the worker questionnaires, conducting personal interviews with some of the responding workers, and validating the information collected throughout the process. The CDC estimates the investigation will take approximately three years to complete.

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