Fatalities in Oil & Gas Extraction – About FOG

About FOG

The NIOSH Fatalities in Oil and Gas Extraction (FOG) database collects detailed information about worker fatalities in the U.S. oil and gas extraction industry. This information is used by NIOSH, the oil and gas extraction industry, and other stakeholder groups to better understand fatal incidents and to guide interventions that will prevent future loss of life. FOG is not a complete census of all US OGE worker fatalities. It is a subset. Patterns displayed on this webpage may be different than those displayed by other data sources. Any statistical analyses or statements about industry-wide trends using FOG data should take into account the limitations of FOG’s underlying methodology, as well as statistical best practices. A full description of the inclusion and exclusion criteria, data sources, and limitations for the FOG database is found below.

Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria

The FOG database includes land-based and offshore worker fatalities related to the U.S. oil and gas extraction industry. Oil and gas extraction involves the exploration of crude oil or natural gas fields and the drilling and operating of wells that bring crude oil or natural gas to the surface. For a fatality to be included in FOG it must meet the following criteria:

  1. The fatally injured worker must be engaged in work for the oil and gas extraction industry at the time of the incident. This includes:
    • Oil and gas extraction workers
      Workers involved in land-based or offshore exploration for crude oil and natural gas; drilling, completing and equipping wells, and all other activities in the preparation of oil and gas up to the point of shipment from the producing property on a contract or fee basis are included in FOG.
    • Workers from other industries doing work in oil and gas extraction
      Workers from other industries such as site preparation and related construction, specialized freight trucking, and geophysical surveying are included in FOG if the incident occurred while they were doing work for the oil and gas extraction industry.
    • Crude oil or natural gas haulers
      Workers involved in hauling crude oil or natural gas from the producing property to a processing or storage facility are included in FOG.
  1. The worker was fatally injured or had an onset of illness which occurred at work or was a direct result of work-related activities. This includes:
    • Traumatic Injury: Workers who died as a result of any damage inflicted to the body by energy transfer during work with a short duration between exposure and health event.
      • Drug and alcohol overdose: Workers who died at work from drug and alcohol overdose, regardless of when the drugs were taken and whether the drugs were medicinal or illicit.
      • Intentional Injuries: Workers who died as a result of suicide or homicide at work.
    • Work-related chronic illness
      Workers who died from a chronic illness that is reported to be related to their work in the oil and gas extraction industry are included in FOG. Due to the latency between most work-related exposures and diagnosis as well as a lack of data sources, these fatalities are difficult to capture.
    • Non-traditional commutes to or from the worksite or temporary lodging camps: Workers who died during a non-traditional commute to or from their worksite are included in FOG. Non-traditional commutes are defined in FOG as meeting one of the following criteria:
      1. Worker travel in excess of 90 minutes or 50 miles one-way.
      2. Workers transported by an employer-paid transportation service.
      3. Workers traveling as a crew.
    • Cardiac events
      Workers who experience a fatal cardiac event that began at work or was believed to be triggered by work activities.

The FOG database only includes worker fatalities related to the oil and gas extraction industry and therefore excludes:

  • Non-fatal injury or illness
    FOG only includes data on incidents resulting in one or more worker fatalities.
  • Midstream or downstream oil and gas worker fatalities
    Fatalities to workers involved in the transportation (by pipeline, rail, or barge), storage, and wholesale marketing of crude oil or natural gas (“midstream” sector of the oil and gas industry) are not included in FOG. Fatalities related to the refining, processing, or purifying of crude oil and natural gas, as well as, the marketing and distribution of the products derived from these processes (“downstream” sector of the oil and gas industry) are also not included.

The FOG database relies on several sources for incident identification and information. Data sources include:

  • Formal investigations by federal, state, and local agencies:
    • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) state and federal programs
    • Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE)
    • United States Coast Guard (USCG)
    • Motor vehicle crash reports
    • Coroner and medical examiner reports
    • Emergency responder and police reports
  • Public information:
    • Media reports
    • Press releases
    • Obituaries
  • Notifications from industry partners
  • Public records:
    • Death certificates

The FOG database does not currently identify all worker fatalities related to the oil and gas extraction industry. In particular, the following types of fatalities are likely underreported in FOG.

  • Roadway motor vehicle fatalities
    Motor vehicle incidents that occur on public roads and highways are underreported in FOG due to a lack of data sources to identify this type of incident. Efforts by NIOSH are underway to identify sources and develop methods to better collect information about roadway motor vehicle crashes from appropriate state and federal agencies.
  • Work-related chronic illness
    Fatalities as a result of work-related chronic illness are underreported in FOG due to the latency between exposure and diagnosis, making it difficult to determine if an illness was work-related. Also, there are a lack of data sources that document these types of illnesses.