Accidents & Injuries-Gas/Oil Related Injuries

Accidents and Injuries Related to Oil/Gas Production

  • Congressional Report on Oil/Gas Fatalities and OSHA’s failure to Punish Safety Violations:
    A report issued in April 2008  by the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee described Patterson-UTI as one of the nation’s worst violators of workplace safety laws. The report, titled “Discounting Death: OSHA’s Failure to Punish Safety Violations That Kill Workers,” concluded the agency’s enforcement actions amounted to a “slap on the wrist” for the company’s “unspeakable toll” on Texas workers.
    Devoting an entire section to Patterson-UTI and 13 employees, including Garrett, who died in Texas rig accidents between November 2003 and April 2007, the report said the agency fined the company $432,000 for violations related to the deaths. But it later forgave all but $115,000 of the fines.
    “OSHA’s attempts to stop Patterson from gambling with workers’ lives are a study in weakness,” the report said.
    OSHA officials declined to respond specifically to criticisms in the Senate report.
    The fatality rate for oil and gas workers in the U.S. between 2002 and 2007 was more than 29 deaths per 100,000 workers, or about seven times the average for all occupations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Pipeline Accidents New Mexico and Texas have seen more people killed by oil and gas pipeline accidents since 2000 than any other states, concludes a new study of refinery and pipeline accidents and pollution released Thursday by the National Wildlife Federation <>
    New Mexico has had 58 significant pipeline accidents over the past decade, killing 15 and injuring 17 people, according to the report.
    Texas also saw 15 pipeline accident-related deaths in that period, and 60 injuries. But Texas’s 15 deaths resulted from 523 significant pipeline accidents, compared to New Mexico’s 58 — indicating that New Mexico’s pipeline accidents are, on average, more lethal than those anywhere else in the U.S.  When it comes to the environmental and human costs of oil industry accidents, “major oil spills are really only a small part of the real story,” the study concludes.
    From 2000 to 2009, the U.S. saw 2,554 significant oil and gas pipeline accidents, causing 161 deaths and 576 injuries, the report states.
    New Mexico ranks as having the 10th worst pipeline safety record overall in the U.S., the report states. But in terms of lives lost, New Mexico ties Texas for first place.
    The National Wildlife Federation study did not statistically control for the number of miles of pipelines in each state, in its ranking of states for pipeline safety.
    From 2001 to 2007, offshore oil drilling operations had 356 spills, 476 fires, 302 injuries and 41 worker fatalities, the study found.

EPA: Chemicals Found in Wyo. Drinking Water Might Be From Fracking

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