Job growth in the oil and gas sector is vastly outpacing total private sector growth, but so too are the sector’s work-related fatalities. Have safety practices slipped in the energy industry?
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Advanced drilling techniques have spurred a surge in employment in the energy industry that vastly outpaces other sectors. But the rapid rise in extraction has come with a downside: a rise in work-related fatalities.
Fatalities reached a record in the oil and gas industry last year, according to data released Thursday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So far, though, the rise appears linked to the rapid growth in drilling activity rather than a slide in safety standards.
"I think the industry is making progress on safety," Paul Caplan, president of Rigzone, an oil and gas industry news and job recruitment website, wrote in an e-mail, "but it’s an area where you can always do more – making greater strides to protect its workforce and the public and environment in general."