Construction Injury in the Bakken Oil Field

The discovery of significant shale oil and gas deposits in the Bakken field has created an oil boom in the upper Midwest and had enormous economic benefit for the United States economy, adding more than $75 billion a year. The new operations in North Dakota and Montana have brought as many as 500 thousand new jobs and changed the face of what was a pretty isolated part of the country.

If you come to Bakken to work you should know that the communities in the area around Theodore Roosevelt National Park, like Waterford and Williston (centered around Henry Bakken's farm) have become boom towns with a gold rush atmosphere. Oil booms are like mining booms. Although hourly salaries are high, the speeding up or slowing down of work is tied to the relative cost of production, carefully calculated month by month to maintain profitability. Although the work is welcome, the Bakken field has created a culture of temporary residence, social instability and long working days in a harsh climate.

The working environment in the oil boom is dangerous. One survey counts more than 900 deaths due to Bakken oil field accidents. Workers use heavy machinery under difficult conditions. Training is sometimes inadequate and the social environment invites risk taking. People are hurt almost daily from truck accidents, explosions, falling objects, collapsing structures. Life changing construction injuries and accidents have often ended the careers of young workers before their time.

Workers compensation for accidents may be available, but the preparation of workers compensation affidavits may becomplicated in an industrial environment as multi-leveled as the oil field. Civil legal action may be necessary to compensate for injuries where you have to prove negligence. Injuries to an employee of one company are often caused by negligence brought about by employees of another company.

Odegaard Braukmann Law is local, serving communities around Billings, Montana in the Bakken oil field area. We know the oil field and its dangers. Contact us for more information.

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