As reported by Medical Law Perspectives and other news outlets, the oil and gas extraction industry has an elevated occupational fatality rate that is consistently among the highest of any U.S. industry. The causes of the most frequent fatalities among onshore oil and gas extraction workers are well known . . . During 2003 to 2010, the U.S. oil and gas extraction industry (onshore and offshore combined) had a collective fatality rate seven times higher than for all U.S. workers (27.1 versus 3.8 deaths per 100,000 workers).
Catastrophic events like the Deepwater Horizon explosion, when 11 lives were lost, attract intense media attention but do not account for the majority of work-related fatalities during offshore operations. To identify risk factors to offshore oil and gas extraction workers, the CDC analyzed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), a comprehensive database of fatal work injuries, for the period 2003 to 2010. The report describes the results of that analysis, which found that 128 fatalities in activities related to offshore oil and gas operations occurred during this period. Transportation activities were the leading cause of fatalities (65 deaths comprising 51%). A total of 49, or 75%, of these fatalities were associated with helicopters. Click here to read the full article.