Oil companies not so slick on safety

Better known for endangering marine wildlife, oil companies — driven by this summer’s unusually high oil prices — are now playing roulette with the lives of their own workers, IN THESE TIMES reports.

According to a number of union officials and insurance companies, many oil producers are severely compromising workplace safety in their push to produce as much oil as possible before prices drop. This includes hiring poorly trained workers to pump up their shrinking workforce and re-opening wells that were deemed inoperable just one year ago, when oil was less than $20 a barrel. While the oil-production workforce has substantially decreased in the past year, the number of oil rigs in the US has increased by 30 percent.

It may be no coincidence that there has been a 10 percent jump this year in death-benefit payments and workers’ compensation claims among oil producers.