Oil and Gas Extraction Program

Program Description


The mission of the Oil and Gas Extraction Program is to conduct research, partner with stakeholders, and develop and communicate workplace solutions to improve worker safety and health in the oil and gas extraction industry.

High Quality Research: Conducting high quality, evidence-based research and prevention activities that will lead to reductions in occupational fatalities, injuries and illnesses among oil and gas extraction workers through surveillance, exposure assessments, and field work.

Partnerships: Collaborating with partners in industry, government, academia, labor and other stakeholders to achieve successful and sustainable outcomes. Our partners contribute by:

    • Stimulating relevant and innovate research
    • Providing access to oil and gas worksites for field research and data collection
    • Disseminating research findings
    • Encouraging science-based changes to improve safety and health

Practical Solutions: Developing useful and effective solutions to the complex problems that cause occupational injuries, illness and fatalities to oil and gas extraction workers.

The oil and gas extraction industry is defined by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) as:

“Industries in the Oil and Gas Extraction subsector operate and/or develop oil and gas field properties. Such activities may include exploration for crude petroleum and natural gas; drilling, completing, and equipping wells; operating separators, emulsion breakers, desilting equipment, and field gathering lines for crude petroleum and natural gas; and all other activities in the preparation of oil and gas up to the point of shipment from the producing property. This subsector includes the production of crude petroleum, the mining and extraction of oil from oil shale and oil sands, and the production of natural gas, sulfur recovery from natural gas, and recovery of hydrocarbon liquids.”

The NAICS identifies three types of companies in the exploration and production industry: oil and gas operators who control and manage leased areas (NAICS 211), drilling companies who drill the wells (NAICS 213111) and well servicing companies who provide all other types of support operations that prepare a well for completion and production (NAICS 213112).

Employment and Fatality Rates for 2015
NAICS Workforce Description, Employment 2017 (% Total) Number of fatalities Fatality Rate (per 100,000 workers)
211 Crude petroleum and natural gas extraction 143,925 8 5.6
213111 Drilling oil and gas wells 57,316 12 20.9
213112 Support activities for oil and gas operations 227,203 61 26.8
Total 428,444 81 18.9


BLS [2019] Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, https://www.bls.gov/cew/external icon

BLS [2019]. Data Tools, Workplace Injuries, Occupational Injuries and Illnesses and Fatal Injuries Profiles. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/data/#injuriesexternal icon

Page last reviewed: November 30, 2018