Tuesday, February 12, 2013

One of the most dangerous jobs in the U.S.

Fracking: Bad for the Environment, the Community and Workers

by s.e. smith
February 9, 2013

Mike Krajewski, a father of three, was just 49 when he died of an on-the-job injury in North Dakota, a state that’s been experiencing a fracking boom as oil and gas companies move in to take advantage of the state’s natural resources. His death was the result of an improperly turned valve that caused a pipe to come loose and hit him in the head. A coworker, Brad Hong, was injured during the same incident. Bruce Revers, 58, lives with silicosis, a chronic disease associated with numerous occupations, including fracking; while he worked in a different industry, his life as a silicosis patient relying on external oxygen to breathe is very similar to that experienced by retired fracking personnel.

An explosion in Texas in May of last year injured two unnamed workers. Savatore M. Bombardiere claims toxic chemical exposure at fracking sites in Pennsylvania caused health complications, and is suing his former employers. In September, five unnamed workers were injured when well equipment malfunctioned in Louisiana.

Welcome to one of the most dangerous jobs in the U.S.: being an oil and gas worker, particularly in the fracking industry, which is growing by leaps and bounds, without accompanying safety precautions. As young, inexperienced personnel flood oil rigs, fields and roads, the injury rate is growing, and many communities are having trouble keeping up.

While the dangers of fracking to the environment and communities have long been a topic of discussion, worker welfare hasn’t been covered as thoroughly, and it’s time for that to change. This extremely dangerous industry puts workers at severe risk of occupational injuries as well as future medical complications, and many fracking workers have inadequate personal safety gear and legal protections. That’s bad news for everyone, not just workers.

(Read more here.)


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