Risky Business or Lack of Legislation?

Lack of regulation does nothing to reduce the risk that is already inherent to oil field employees. New evidence supports that employees working the North Dakota Bakken oil fields may expose themselves to greater than average risk when compared with workers within other regions; however, no other industry can claim 40 fatalities since 2011. This number does not include the worker's comp cases resultant of the North American oil boom. From the inception of the Bakken field oil drill in 2009, statistics have shown a work atmosphere wrought with astronomical risk and endangerment to life. Approximately 9,000 worker injury claims have been filed during this time.

Employees have cited continual exposure to work hazards that were unforeseen upon initial employment with Bakken, leading many critics of the operation to believe that employers and state legislative faculty are simply turning the other way, without acknowledging the need for increased safety measures at the site. North Dakota's state government seems to have little concern over the unsafe work environment resultant of a massive oil boom at Bakken. While oil industry sites are historically known for dangerous conditions, and unexpected tragedies of mass proportions, North Dakota's Workforce Safety and Insurance agency pay injured workers, and the families of deceased workers, for their losses, despite the risk of the job, and despite drilling that has rapidly increased at Bakken, OSHA has not emphasized healthier worker conditions on the fields responsible for some exponential economic growth in North Dakota. However, in light of the increased fatalities atBakken, how can this example of risk be better quantified?

Al Jazeera's new documentary, Faultine: Death on the Bakken Shale, illustrates the general lack of managerial precaution taken with common sense dangers. One case was that of Dustin Payne, a 28-year-old Bakken oil field worker, who died due to an oil explosion. Before the event of his death, he is said to have text his fiancée regarding his concerns over welding material filled with highly flammable oil. Families dependent upon this fast-growing oil economy should be aware of worker's rights, and the consequences of their abuse. This is one case in which managerial expertise could have determined too high risk for performance. In the case of Bakken, too many deaths and injuries have occurred already, in spite of North Dakota's slow legislative efforts to mitigate these types of events. If you or one of your family members is currently injured it is important to contact us about possible remuneration due to you.

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