Employees more at risk of a North Carolina work accident in oil and gas industry

As the events in Japan continue to unfold our Carolina workers’ compensation attorneys note a recent report that found employees in the oil and gas extraction industry are at a greater risk of death than workers at a nuclear power plant.

Recently the Manhattan Institute conducted a survey of the general population relating to nuclear energy.
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Almost 40% of the respondents thought there had been at least one U.S. death from the generation of nuclear power. Another 25% were not sure of the answer and about 37% answered there have been no deaths.

According to a March 2011 report by Blue Ribbon Commission, there are approximately 119,000 workers at nuclear power plants, at about 97 workplaces. An additional 9,000 engage in work with uranium mining, conversion, milling, fabrication, enrichment and waste storage. Through the year 2008, only one facility had 5 workers exposed to a radiation dose above 2 REM (measurement of radiation); the allowable maximum dose by Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is 5 REM annually.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission reports “Since commercial nuclear power plants began operating in the United States, there have been no physical injuries or fatalities from exposure to radiation from the plants among members of the U.S. public. Even the country’s worst nuclear power plant accident at Three Mile Island resulted in no identifiable health impacts.”

Conversely, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports there were 120 fatal work injuries in the oil and gas extraction industry in 2008. The most recent statistics for nonfatal illnesses and injuries for oil and gas well drillers were 4,200 cases or 4.6 per 100 full-time workers.

In a recent article in The New York Times questions were raised if the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear station in Japan should steer us away from nuclear power.

From the standpoint of workplace safety, an oil rig is a far more deadly place to work than a nuclear power plant. Employers are once again reminded to keep current with safety standards in your industry in order to keep workers safe and out of harms way.

If you are dealing with a work accident in North Carolina, contact our workers’ compensation lawyers in Greensboro, Charlotte and Asheville. Contact the Law Offices of Lee & Smith today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 1-800-887-1965.

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