Union: North Dakota Is The Most Dangerous Place In The Nation To Work

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According to a press release sent out by the AFL-CIO, North Dakota is the most dangerous place in the nation to work. That’s based on worker fatality rate of 12.4 per 1,000 workers.

That’s not a good number, but it’s not surprising either. Like the other states on the bottom of the list – Wyoming, Montana, Alaska and Arkansas – North Dakota is an industry-heavy state. All the more so thanks to the oil boom. And like all those states except, perhaps, Arkansas North Dakota is home to some harsh weather conditions.

That all adds up to North Dakota being an inherently dangerous place to work. Not so much because of the laws, as the AFL-CIO suggests, but because of the nature of jobs here.

Take, for example, this list of the 10 most dangerous jobs in America. Truck driver, farmer/rancher and steel worker are all ranked. And those are all very prevalent jobs in this state.

Some jobs are just more dangerous than others, and no amount of legislation will change that.

Here’s the press release:

(BISMARCK, N.D.) According to a new AFL-CIO report, Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect, 44 workers were killed in North Dakota in 2011, giving the state a worker fatality rate of 12.4 per 100,000 workers. At 50th in the nation for worker safety, North Dakota joins Wyoming, Montana, Alaska and Arkansas as states with the highest workplace fatality rates while New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Washington were states with the lowest rates.

The report notes that in 2011, there were 4,693 workplace deaths due to traumatic injuries and more than 3.8 million workers across all industries, including state and local government, who experienced work-related illnesses and injuries. As a comparison point, in 2010, 4,690 people died on the job. For the past three years, after years of steady decline the job fatality rate has essentially been unchanged, with a rate of 3.5/100,000 workers in 2011. Similarly for past two years there has been no change in the reported workplace injury and illness rate (3.5 per 100 workers), indicating that greater efforts are needed for continued progress in reducing job injuries and deaths.

The AFL-CIO report features profiles of workers’ safety and health in each state and includes national information on workplace illnesses, injuries and fatalities as well as the number and frequency of workplace inspections, penalties, funding, staffing and public employee coverage under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act). The report also addresses delays in the rule-making process and emerging hazards such as pandemic flu and other infectious diseases. The report finds that in the face of an ongoing assault on regulations by business groups and Republicans in Congress, progress on many new important safety and health rules has stalled. The White House Office of Management and Budget has delayed needed protections including OSHA’s draft proposed silica rule which has been held up for more than 2 years.

“With the highest number of workplace fatalities in the country, our elected leaders should make safer workplaces a priority. Instead, too many politicians in our state made it their priority to weaken existing protections for injured workers and make it more difficult for North Dakotans to collectively bargain for safer working conditions,” said Tom Ricker, President, North Dakota AFL-CIO. “This shameful ranking shows North Dakota has much work to be done to ensure that no worker fears for his or her health and wellbeing on the job,”

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • Roy_Bean

    1. Due to a low population, there is a higher than average percentage of the work force working on oil rigs.

    2. Oil rigs are dirty and dangerous no matter where they are located.

    3. This is democrats trying to use statistics to push more regulation and less freedom.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Exactly. Though don’t forget agriculture. By far, still the state’s largest industry, and relatively dangerous,

  • headward

    Think how much a gallon of gas would be if the oil field was unionized.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      A lot of them are unionized.

      • headward

        I knew some were but I didn’t consider it to be ‘a lot’. Is it 10% or >10%?

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          Well, “a lot” is probably the wrong term.

          I’m not sure on the percentage.

          • exsanguine

            Not sure the percentage but off the top of my head it would be:
            electricians, plumbers, pipe fitters, HVAC/sheet metal, some carpenters, masons, etc

            Your grunts on the rig won’t be unionized. possibly the foremen, machine operators will though?

  • Simon

    The unions and other liberals would love to get rid of our right to work laws and apparently believe this is one way to do it.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      I suspect that is the AFL-CIO’s agenda, not that we should be insensitive to dangerous working conditions.

  • kevindf

    Any job that involves a moving vehicle is dangerous.

    • devilschild

      Yes…I believe Rob has the safest job in the state and with no employees he doesn’t have to worry about disgruntled workers.

      • kevindf

        What about disgruntled internet blog readers?

        • devilschild

          …all bark and no bite. It’s the quiet one’s you got to watch out for.

          • kevindf

            What about “noblinders?”

          • devilschild

            You know what? Now that I think about it there are quite a few hazards facing Rob at the office. Paper cuts are a possibility, and items like staplers and paper shredders can be dangerous in the wrong hands. And if we go back to his previous employment as a hired snoop there might be a few people who wouldn’t be too upset if he disappeared.

  • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

    Well, North Dakota does already lead the nation in government per-capita.

  • http://www.facebook.com/willis.forster Willis Forster

    Unions care about union dues not safety, this is a smoke screen for another agenda.

  • Slickwilly

    It’s always the politicians’ fault. Apparently.

  • Geoff Bosse

    If they do unionize in Western ND there could possibly be one positive. The pace of the growth will slow immensely as the workers will move to a 40 hour work week. Fewer rigs will get built per year, thus allowing infrastructure to catch up. And the boom will last for 35 years vs. 15. I hope all who just read that realize that it’s not really a positive! Sorry, I felt the need to clarify.

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.ratsky John Ratsky

    How is the agricultural industry dangerous?

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.ratsky John Ratsky

    Omg! Get a pair of balls!

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