On the Job Deaths in Oil and Gas Industry Spiked 23 Percent in 2012

A new report delivers a dire warning to employees in the oil and gas industries: Your job could be the death of you. According to recently released statistics from 2012, on-the-job deaths in the oil and gas industries spiked by a staggering 23 percent last year, a larger increase than any other employment sector in the United States.

U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said that the amount of deaths within the industry was “unacceptable.”  In 2012, according to labor statistics, there were 138 on-the-job deaths in the oil and gas industry, which is an increase from the 112 deaths that occurred in the prior year.  This is a stark contrast to all industries, as the total number of worker deaths across the board decreased last year.

The trend in oil and gas industry deaths is nothing new. Between 2003 and 2010, the industry had the highest death toll in the United States, beating out all other industries for worker deaths. The majority of these deaths are due to workers being struck by equipment, struck by vehicles, and occasionally a major catastrophic accident, like the BP refinery explosion in Texas in 2005, and the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in 2010.

In the case of industrial accidents, many companies have actually done cost analyses and determined that it is actually cheaper for them to pay off the families of killed workers than it is to implement new safety standards. For example, BP’s 2005 refinery explosion uncovered documents that showed exactly how the company does their cost analysis, and determined that the implementation of safety precautions would cut too deeply into the company’s profits.

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