Oilfield Fatality Numbers on the Rise 02/24/14
February 24, 2014
Odessa - After seeing oilfield fatality numbers rise in 2012, a Houston reporter looks deeper into what could be the cause of this increase. The in-depth story ran in yesterday’s Houston Chronicle issue, with numbers that might surprise you.
It was a year worth of investigations with a focus on one Big Spring family. The report highlights that some warning signs were ignored and inspectors were limited. In 2012, 65 Texas oilfield workers lost their lives, a 60 percent increase from the year before and a 10 year high. After those numbers surfaced, Lise Olsen, an investigative reporter for the Houston Chronicle wanted to look a little closer.
“We decided we wanted to go deeper, and find people who just got injured and not just killed,” said Olsen.
Accident, after accident, the newspaper finds regulations are held at a different standard for onshore drilling sights. “There’s just a lot more oversight off shore, on shore there is almost no information about most of the accidents,” said Olsen.
The article looks all over the state, finding a high number of fatal accident that have been inspected by OSHA since 2007. The newspaper posts a picture of a map that shows here in the Permian Basin alone there have been 55 investigations.
Olsen goes on, adding the cause of some accidents could be due to site inspectors running a generic worker safety checklist, and not focusing on the bigger picture. “Even when inspectors do come to a site, sometimes they are not looking for major problems, that could cause future disasters,” said Olsen.