Occupational mortality in the New Mexico oil and gas industry

2021-08-07

New Mexico’s oil and natural gas industry has the second highest occupational fatality rate among oil and gas workers in the nation. There is currently limited data available regarding the top contributing factors to occupational mortality specific to the state’s oil and gas industry. This study seeks to understand causes of mortality among oil and gas workers in New Mexico between 2008 and 2018. To facilitate this study, case reports were obtained from the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator, and population data was acquired from the US Department of Labor. In this 11-year span, there were 73 cases, with an average annual mortality rate of 37 deaths per 100,000 oil and gas workers. Leading causes of death were vehicle accidents (36%), cardiovascular incidents (22%), and crush injuries (19%). The majority of vehicle accidents involved single vehicle accidents, and correct seat belt use was only documented 23% of the time. The majority of cardiovascular deaths were due to arteriosclerotic and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Alcohol was present in 18% of cases, and drugs were present in 19% of cases with methamphetamine present in 10% of investigated deaths. This is the first study to directly include cardiovascular incidents in the leading causes of death; otherwise, this study reflects national data reporting vehicle accidents and crush injuries as the leading causes of death. Going forward, prevention measures should effectively target safe driving practices focusing on seatbelt use, and mitigation of workplace drug and alcohol consumption.

Authors: Andrew Faturos, Garon Bodor, Lori Proe, Sarah Lathrop
; Full Source: Journal of forensic sciences 2021 Aug 7. doi: 10.1111/1556-4029.14831.