Since 2010, workers in oilfields in Montana and North Dakota have been injured due to a process called fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, according to Safety Agency to Probe Fracking Risks After Deaths of 4 Workers.
Fracking exposes workers to dangerously high levels of volatile hydrocarbons, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health [NIOSH]. Workers exposed to the practice are subjects of new NIOSH research according to agency spokeswoman Christina Spring.
The article explains the fracking process:
“In fracking, chemically treated water and sand are injected into shale rock to free trapped oil and gas. When the fluid returns to the surface as wastewater, it contains volatile hydrocarbons from the rock formation, according to the NIOSH. The fluid is temporarily stored in tanks or pits on the surface.”
When workers measure the fluid in the tanks by accessing the wastewater they are exposed to hydrocarbons. The result? “Hydrocarbons can affect the eyes, lungs and nervous system and at high levels also may lead to an abnormal heartbeat…”
Williston Basin in North Dakota was where the four deaths occurred. Some deaths are still being investigated.
NIOSH is still collecting data.
Fracking is a very controversial practice. The Ohio Attorney General is investigating it, according to this article: Mike Dewine, Ohio Attorney General, Says State Fracking Regulations ‘Not Adequate’.
DeWine wants to increase Ohio’s fines for fracking, from $10,000 to $20,000 per incident.
“Requiring up-front information from drillers on the contents of any fluids blasted into the earth during fracking, formally known as hydraulic fracturing, also is in line with states including Colorado and Michigan, according to a staff review conducted by DeWine’s office. He said he would like to see disclosure of both chemicals used and in what concentrations, not only out of environmental concern but also to help emergency workers dispatched to drilling sites.”
Have you been injured as a result of an unsafe work site? If you or someone you know thinks they have suffered such an injury, Nate Hansford can help. Contact Nate by phone at 770-922-3660.