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On the Job Deaths Increase with Oil Drilling Boom

Those of us in Western Pennsylvania know that the drilling industry is alive and well in our region, bringing of flood of workers and activity.  The industry grew rapidly, increasing blue collar jobs by approximately 23% in matter of a few years.  This rapid growth, however, does not come without a cost.  Last year alone 138 drilling workers were killed on the job

The cause of worker injuries and deaths in the oil drilling industry are often linked to worker inexperience along with harsh working conditions.  Critics also say that the employers are partly at fault for the workers' deaths, keeping an eye on profit rather than safety.  Some cite improper training and failure to enforce safety rules and regulations as the cause of the injuries.  The workers in this industry are often expected to work long shifts (12-14 hours) at week or weeks long intervals.  Additionally, some of the family members of the killed workers believe that safety measures, such as frequent drug testing, are not being enforced in order to keep up productivity. 

This is sure to be an ongoing issue not only in Western Pennsylvania but any region where oil drilling is occurring.  The industry recently saw yet another area of growth with the development of hydraulic fracturing (often termed fracking).  The fracking methods are opening more areas to drilling.  With this recent technological developement there has been a hiring surge and unfortunately an increase in worker injuries and even deaths.

Source:  On-The-Job Deaths Spiking As Oil Drilling Quickly Expands, by Andrew Schneider and Marilyn Geewax

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