Oil, Gas, Mining and Construction Accidents

Regarding workplace injury fatalities, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports:

  • A preliminary total of 4,679 fatal work injuries were recorded in the United States in 2014, an increase of 2 percent over the revised count of 4,585 fatal work injuries in 2013, according to results from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The preliminary rate of fatal work injury for U.S. workers in 2014 was 3.3 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers.
  • The number of fatal work injuries in private goods-producing industries in 2014 was 9 percent higher than the revised 2013 total but slightly lower in private service-providing industries. Fatal injuries were higher in mining (up 17 percent), agriculture (up 14 percent), manufacturing (up 9 percent), and construction (up 6 percent). Fatal work injuries for government workers were lower (down 12 percent).
    Falls, slips, and trips increased 10 percent to 793 in 2014 from 724 in 2013. This was driven largely by an increase in falls to a lower level to 647 in 2014 from 595 in 2013.
  • Fatal work injuries involving workers 55 years of age and over rose 9 percent to 1,621 in 2014 up from 1,490 in 2013. The preliminary 2014 count for workers 55 and over is the highest total ever reported by CFOI.
  • After a sharp decline in 2013, fatal work injuries among self-employed workers increased 10 percent in 2014 from 950 in 2013 to 1,047 in 2014.
  • Women incurred 13 percent more fatal work injuries in 2014 than in 2013. Even with this increase, women accounted for only 8 percent of all fatal occupational injuries in 2014.
  • Fatal work injuries among Hispanic or Latino workers were lower in 2014, while fatal injuries among non-Hispanic white, black or African-American, and Asian workers were all higher.
  • In 2014, 797 deaths were identified as contracted workers, 6 percent higher than the 749 fatally-injured contracted workers reported in 2013. Workers who were contracted at the time of their fatal injury accounted for 17 percent of all fatal work injury cases in 2014.
  • The number of fatal work injuries among police officers and police supervisors was higher in 2014, rising from 88 in 2013 to 103 in 2014, an increase of 17 percent.

Oil and Gas Industry Accidents

More specifically, the CDC also has compiled statistics for specific industry accidents and fatalities, such as onshore and offshore oil and gas operations. In a 2013 report, the CDC summarized:

During 2003–2010, the U.S. oil and gas extraction industry (onshore and offshore, combined) had a collective fatality rate seven times higher than for all U.S. workers (27.1 versus 3.8 deaths per 100,000 workers).

The 11 lives lost in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion provide a reminder of the hazards involved in offshore drilling. Transportation events were the leading cause (65 [51%]); the majority of these involved aircraft (49 [75%]). Nearly one fourth (31 [24%]) of the fatalities occurred among workers whose occupations were classified as "transportation and material moving." To reduce fatalities in offshore oil and gas operations, employers should ensure that the most stringent applicable transportation safety guidelines are followed.

Construction Industry Accidents

Likewise, the CDC has conducted extensive surveillance on fatalities in the construction industry.

In 2009, private industry construction workers1 had a fatal occupational injury rate nearly three times that of all workers in the United States: 9.7 per 100,000 full-time equivalent construction workers vs. 3.3 for all workers.

Construction also has three of the ten occupations with the highest fatal injury rates:

  • Roofers at 34.7 fatal work injuries per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers
  • Structural iron and steel workers at 30.3
  • Laborers at 18.3.
  • In 2009, falls accounted for more than one-third of fatal occupational injuries in construction (34%).
  • Nearly half (48%) of all fatal falls in private industry were to construction workers.
  • Transportation-related events were the second leading fatal injury event (25%) in construction, followed by contact with objects and equipment (19%)
  • Exposure to harmful substances and environments (16%)

Mining Accidents

The CDC reports that:

  • There were 41 occupational fatalities reported to MSHA in 2013. This compares to 35 in 2012.
  • Within the industry sectors, nearly half of the fatalities occurred in the coal sector (n=20; 48.8%), followed by stone
  • The highest number of fatalities reported by accident classification was for powered haulage (n=14; 34.1%), followed by machinery (n=9; 22.0%).
  • The nature of injury most frequently reported for the fatalities was multiple injuries (n=18; 43.9%), followed by crushing (n=12; 29.3%).
  • Multiple body parts (n=16; 39.0%); head, not elsewhere classified (n=9; 22.0%); and body systems (n=7; 17.1%) were the parts of body most frequently reported for fatalities.
  • In 2013, there were 5,258 nonfatal lost-time injuries.These injuries occurred at underground (n=1,948; 37.0%) and surface (n=3,310; 63.0%) work locations. A total of 331,399 days were lost from work, as a result of these injuries.
  • The most frequent accident classification of nonfatal lost-time injuries involved handling materials (n=1,896; 36.1%), followed by slip or fall of person (n=1,342; 25.5%). When considering worker location, handling materials was the leading accident classification for both underground (n=665; 34.1%) and surface (n=1,231; 37.2%) locations.
  • Sprains or strains was the most frequently reported nature of injury (n=2,372; 45.1%). This was followed by injuries involving fractures, chips (n=918; 17.5%); cuts, lacerations, punctures (n=557; 10.6%); and contusions, bruises (n=470; 8.9%).
  • The back was the most frequently reported body part injured (n=926; 17.6%) resulting in 59,884 days lost from work. This was followed by injuries to the finger (n=640; 12.2%; 30,791 days lost) and the knee (n=540; 10.3%; 31,765 days lost).