Oil and gas

CDC: Death rate among oil and gas workers has decreased

oil worker

Photo: RGtimeline/iStock/Thinkstock

Washington – The fatality rate for oil and gas workers decreased 36.3 percent despite an industry boom from 2003 to 2013, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The oil and gas workforce doubled in size during the 11-year period, and the number of drilling rigs increased 71 percent. Total fatalities increased 27.6 percent to 1,189, or 108 deaths per year, but the rate was significantly lower when the size of the workforce was considered.

The top causes of fatalities were:

  • Transportation incidents (40.3 percent)
  • Contact with objects/equipment (25.9 percent)
  • Fires or explosions (14.3 percent)
  • Exposure to harmful substances or environments (8.8 percent)
  • Slips, trips and falls (8.2 percent)

The rate likely will continue to decrease because of collaboration between industry officials, government leaders and academic institutions, experts say. “It is important for oil and gas industry employers to continue implementation of safety measures that target causes of the most frequent fatal events,” the report states.

The report was published May 29 in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.