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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
June 12, 2013

Why Are On-the-Job Fatalities So High Among Oil and Gas Industry Workers?

JAMA. 2013;309(22):2318. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.6383

On-the-job fatalities in US oil and gas extraction operations outpaced occupational deaths in all other industries by 7-fold between 2003 and 2010, according to a study in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. And contrary to what many might think, the majority of the deaths weren't in catastrophic disasters like the Deepwater Horizon explosion that killed 11 men in 2010.

The study reported an occupational fatality rate of 27.1 deaths per 100 000 workers in offshore and onshore oil and gas extraction operations compared with 3.8 deaths per 100 000 workers in all other industries combined. An analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries showed that 128 men with a mean age of about 41 years died specifically in offshore operations. All but 1 of the deaths occurred in the Gulf of Mexico.