North Dakota Oil Patch Injuries Appear to Be Up

March 15, 2010

Work-related injuries appear to be rising along with the increased activity in North Dakota’s oil patch.

Drilling injury claims filed with the state Workforce Safety and Insurance agency totaled 164 in 2008, up from 38 in 2004.

Determining the actual number of oil patch injuries is difficult. North Dakota does not report such injuries to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration does not require employers to report injuries unless at least three workers are hurt or someone is killed.

Jim Solberg, owner of a Williston-based company that provides safety and compliance specialists, says major oil companies are putting an emphasis on safety.

North Dakota Petroleum Council President Ron Ness also says the oil patch is a safer work place than it once was.

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