Driving leading cause of death in oil industry

Driving leading cause of death in oil industry

The leading cause of death in the oil and gas industry isn’t drilling or excavating incidents — it’s driving.

”Many people are stunned and shocked to learn this,” said Murray Sunstrum, vice president of safety at Enform, the petroleum industry’s training sector for safety practices.
According to the Western Worker’s Compensation Board (WCB), 163 oil and gas industry workers were killed in motor vehicle incidents from 1994 to 2005. Furthermore, according to WCB, for every one person that’s killed and reported to them, 20 people killed on the road aren’t reported as they occur ”off the job” when driving to and from the oil field sites.

”We are not sure why (driving is the leading cause),” he said, adding it has been difficult to pull up the statistics and information is limited to know exactly why driving is the leading cause of death.

But it’s enough for the industry to initiate a province-wide safe driving awareness campaign and to start on the road of revamping safety practices in the workforce.

”It tends to be a surprise to a lot of people because we tend to focus on fires and don’t think something as mundane as driving would be an issue,” said Sunstrum. ”People often wonder, ”˜How could it be driving, it doesn’t make sense.’ But our industry takes this seriously.”

Sunstrum said raising awareness is an important first step in tackling the problem head-on because until people understand this is a problem, it can’t be fixed.

”We’ll be raising awareness through media and commercials that show people what is at stake and to make the choice to drive safe,” he said. ”People need to choose to drive safe and we can help each other make better choices when we get behind the wheel.”

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