US Centers for Disease Control
On May 19th, 2014, NIOSH posted a Science blog titled “Reports of Worker Fatalities during Flowback Operations”. This blog post provided information that NIOSH received from several sources indicating that acute exposures to hydrocarbon gas and vapors likely played a role in the deaths of at least four workers in the oil and gas extraction industry. The four workers were employed in the Williston Basin of North Dakota and Montana. Specific activities the workers had in common at the time of death included manual tank gauging of production tanks or transferring production fluids at the well site.
Since the time of the original blog posting, NIOSH researchers, along with officials from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and members of the academic community, have continued to investigate these and other reports of worker deaths associated with manual tank gauging and sampling operations in the oil and gas extraction industry. Through this investigation, NIOSH researchers have now identified nine fatalities of oil and gas extraction workers from January 2010 to December 2014 associated with tank gauging or sampling. The degree of detailed information about each case varies but all have in common manually gauging or sampling production tanks at oil and gas well sites…