Pipelines safer than rail, roads for oil transport workers: study


Calgary, Alberta – Oil-carrying pipeline workers have a lower injury risk than workers transporting oil on railroads or roadways, according to a new study from public policy think tank Fraser Institute.

Researchers compared the rates of reported oil incidents among pipeline, rail and road systems in the United States using 2005-2009 data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. The rates of injuries requiring hospitalization for workers transporting oil were nearly 30 times higher for railroads and 37 times higher for roadways, compared to pipelines. Roadway figures included truck drivers.

Pipelines also had the least risk of spills, with nearly 0.6 incidents per billion ton-miles annually compared with more than two incidents by rails and nearly 20 by roads.

Researchers concluded that governments should consider worker safety when deciding how to meet increasing demands for oil transportation.