skip to main content

→ Top Stories:
Clean Power plan
Safe Chemicals

Amy Mall’s Blog

More reports of unsafe work conditions in the oil and gas industry, this time for Hispanic workers

Amy Mall

Posted May 27, 2014

, , , , ,
Share | | |

According to a recent report from EnergyWire: "Hispanic workers in the U.S. oil and gas industry bear a disproportionate share of workplace injuries, as gaps in health insurance and language issues put the workforce in greater danger of catastrophic accidents." Among their findings:

  • In 2011 (the most recent data available), more than 25 percent of workers injured in oil and gas extraction workers were Hispanic, even though Hispanic workers make up only 7 percent of the industry's workforce.
  • A former rig hand who is Hispanic reported that he was required to perform tasks without adequate training.
  • The same former rig hand, who speaks English, said some of his co-workers are not fluent English speakers but some training is offered only in English.
  • There is pressure from management to complete jobs quickly, even if safety is compromised.
  • At a "know-your-rights" workshop for workers sponsored by Wyoming's Equality State Policy Center last year, more than half of attendees were Hispanic. The Center has learned that oil and gas companies urge employees not to report injuries in exchange for getting paid during sick leave. According to EnergyWire, "Later, the workers are forced out of their jobs."

As I've blogged recently, fatalities for oil and gas workers are at an all-time high. While there are many types of worker incidents, in particular there has been a spike in traffic fatalities.

We need strong health and safety rules for the oil and gas industry, strong enforcement, and training and education in languages and formats that make it 100% accessible to every worker. Oil and gas companies need to have zero tolerance for accidents and put mandatory policies in place that will accomplish that goal, never putting profit ahead of the health and safety of workers--or anyone else. Workers should be encouraged to take all necessary precautions and to report any health, safety or environmental hazards or problems as soon as they are identified without any risks to their employment status.

Share | | |


JakeMay 28 2014 06:38 AM

So now a few anecdotal, unverified comments now count as "news"? If this is a topic that interests you, quit being so lazy and investigate the facts.

JakeMay 29 2014 07:36 AM

Since you're not answering me, let me give it a shot. I do honestly hope I am wrong.

What I see here is a weak attempt by a blogger who doesn't really care about the workers. She's simply trying to give her readers a reason to hate the evil (and now aparently racist) oil companies.

I don't think you're concerned one bit about the workers' health and safety. They are just a pawn in your effort to undermine oil development for your idealistic endeavors.
Again, I do hope I am wrong. But if I am not, then this blog is absolutely despicable. If I am wrong, prove it. Become an investigator, put together the real facts, an make a difference in people's lives.

Somehow I doubt that will happen, though. Dead and injured people are just a means to an end for you, aren't they?

Amy MallMay 29 2014 12:56 PM

Jake: The data quoted in the first bullet come from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. The data on traffic fatalities comes from the AP investigation. The only reason I blog about the topic of worker safety is because we are concerned about the health and safety of workers and of residents who live near the work sites.

JakeMay 29 2014 01:32 PM

4 of the 5 bullet points didn't mean squat. If you care, please outline what you're going to do about it. Please also explain why you're singling out Hispanics as if oil companies are somehow discriminating and treating people of a certain decent worse than others.

Comments are closed for this post.


Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit

Feeds: Amy Mall’s blog

Feeds: Stay Plugged In