Pipeline workers are much safer than the average in the workplace. Following the latest release of the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses from the Bureau of Labor Statistic (BLS),experts in the safety industry have taken notice. Pipeline workers have incurred fewer injuries, few inspections, high wages, and no fatalities. Reports for Days Away, Restricted, or Transferred (DART) are also notable.
2012 at a Glance
- BLS data combines all pipeline types
- 43,707 workers at an average wage of $129,549
- No fatalities
- Total and DART rates below U.S. average for private industry
- $17.3 million and 6,480 work days lost from 240 lost-time injuries
- OSHA inspections down, penalties relatively low
For the 2012 Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (most recent available), the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) combined pipeline transport of all covered materials under NAICS 486. The industry reported a 2012 worker population of 43,707 at an average wage of $129,549 -- up from 43,010 workers at $111,080 in 2011.
2012 total injury and DART rates for the sector (2.1 and 0.7 respectively) were well below U.S. averages for private industry (3.4 and 1.8). The ratio of DART to total injuries indicates that 33.3% of pipeline transportation injuries resulted in lost time, better than the U.S. rate of 53%. “DART” (Days Away, Restricted or Transferred) refers to the number of record-able injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time employees resulting in days away from work, restricted work activity and/or job transfer that a company experienced in any given time frame. Pipelines recorded no fatal injuries in 2012, an improvement over the five that occurred in 2011.
At just over $72,000 each (U.S. average), pipeline transportation spent $17.3 million on 240 lost-time (days away) injuries in 2012, a 50+% reduction from 2011. That equates to $396 per employee across the entire workforce. Based on an industry median of 27 days per case (more than triple the U.S. average of eight), pipeline transportation also forfeited 6,480 lost work days.
Inspections by fed-OSHA increased steadily since 2008 before both federal and state inspections dropped sharply in 2013. This decrease likely was driven by relatively low injury rates, the lack of fatal injuries and the small worker population.
Standards most frequently cited for pipelines by fed-OSHA in 2012 were HAZWOPER, electrical, safety training and education and requirements for protective systems (excavations). OSHA penalties for pipeline transportation citations tend to be lower than the U.S. average: the 10 issued by fed-OSHA in 2012 averaged $1,205 as compared to the U.S. average of $1,544.