A recent tornado at a North Dakota oil patch that left nine workers injured and destroyed several trailers has outlined the continued importance of oilfield safety training. While accident prevention techniques can't reduce the risk of a tornado or other natural disaster from occurring, they can help workers prepare for the worst, reduce the risk of injury, and ensure a swifter recovery afterward.
According to NPR, the North Dakotan tornado, which touched down at approximately 7:50 PM on May 26, 2014, struck the oil camp near Watford City, creating mass destruction and a large amount of debris. Thankfully, no one was killed in the disaster, though one worker was left critically injured and another eight were treated for less serious cuts and bruises.
One volunteer with the Red Cross shelter set up after the event told news sources that the tornado descended so quickly the workers didn't have time to prepare.
"We saw it form, come out of the sky, hit the ground and go back up into the clouds," said William Bunkel, a trucker working in nearby Watford City, according to NPR. "It was a little bit too far away. We just saw the clouds and the rotation."
In addition to the funnel clouds that formed, the area was struck by baseball-sized hail and severe rains.
Incidents of this nature continue to outline the importance of safety compliance solutions. Regardless of the type of crisis, be it a natural disaster or a man-made incident, firms have to ensure that OSHA safety guidelines are met and that employees are well trained to react appropriately to severe weather and other events. The North Dakota oil field was lucky that there were not more serious injuries, but others haven't been as fortunate and the proper training can save lives.