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Oil boom brings rise of workplace fatalities in the north

Everyone in Texas knows that drilling and pipeline jobs within the oil and gas industries are inherently dangerous. After the recent oil boom in North Dakota, people there are reaching this unfortunate conclusion as well, the Houston Chronicle reported this week.

Data from the North Dakota Workforce Safety and Insurance reveals that 29 oil industry workers were killed on the job in the last fiscal year, which ended in July. While 13 of the fatalities occurred in the oil fields while seven were the result of motor vehicle accidents, the data shows.

Now the state's workers' compensation agency is offering safety training in effort to get the number of job-related fatalities and injuries down. Data shows that about 80 percent of oil-related workers' comp claims were filed by workers who had been on the job for less than a year.

Since oil began booming in the state, it has seen a rise in workplace fatalities. The director of Workforce Safety and Insurance said the increase likely has to do with the fact that the oil boom brought more workers into North Dakota, but he admitted that oil field-related jobs are often more dangerous than most.

"It's not like a job sitting at an office building," he said. "You're working outside around heavy equipment and a lot of moving parts. There is a greater chance of injury."

Oil field workers who are injured on the job -- whether it is in North Dakota, Texas or elsewhere -- should know that they may be entitled to compensation under a negligence or product liability theory or under the state's workers' compensation program. Talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer in your area for more information.

Source: Houston Chronicle, "Workplace deaths rise in North Dakota oil patch," James MacPherson, Dec. 19, 2012

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