North Dakota Leads the Nation in Workplace Deaths
There are positives and negatives when discussing the oil boom in North Dakota. The following statistic is definitely a negative.
According to the High Plains Reader, a report released by the AFL-CIO says that North Dakota led the nation in workplace deaths in 2012, with 64. That's up 20 from 2011.
The report also states that North Dakota had a rate of 16.7 deaths per 100,000 employees, the highest in the nation. Wyoming was second at 12 deaths per 100,000. The national average was 3.2.
The report, as pointed out by the High Plains Reader, doesn't specifically state that the majority of these deaths could be attributed to the oil industry, but the report does gives some clues that could help one deduce that they were.
One of the biggest issues North Dakota faces is while the workforce grew by more than 50,000 workers from 2009 - 2012, the number of OSHA inspectors hasn't followed the same trend. The Bismarck-area office only has eight inspectors to oversee the entire state, which is actually down from nine inspectors when the oil boom first took off.
Tom Ricker, North Dakota AFL-CIO’s president, explains:
In 2011, they said if they were to inspect every work site in North Dakota, it would take 93 years. The data for 2012 says if they were to inspect every workplace in North Dakota, it would take 111 years. So as far as there being federal cuts to OSHA and no increases yet, we are losing workers faster than any other state and there are no additional resources as far as safety.
The High Plains Reader has more in-depth analysis of the report, along with reaction from North Dakota leaders, HERE.