Oil and gasdrilling contractors achieved injury and lost-time rates better than the national average in 2013, according to data compiled by the International Association of Drilling Contractors.

The IADC’s report shows its contract-drilling members had a world-wide recordable incident rate of 0.81 per 100 full-time employees in 2013 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data for 2012 showed U.S. private industry with 3.2 recordable cases per 100 full-time workers) and drilling contractors had a global lost-time incident rate of 0.26 in 2013 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data for 2012 showed U.S. private industry with 1.8 cases of days away from work, job transfer or job restrictions due to injury for private industry).

Overall, the global drilling industry experienced an eight percent reduction in the total recordable incident rate, while lost-time injuries and fatalities held steady.

IADC members reported 22 fatalities throughout the world in 2013. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a preliminary count of 4,405 fatal work injuries in the U.S. for 2013.


Regarding fatalities, five of the victims were floormen and five occurred to motormen. (A floorman is a member of the rig crew whose work station during hoisting is on the rig floor. Floormen also perform numerous other operating and maintenance duties directed by supervisors.) Three fatalities occurred during a well control event and three were routine drilling operations. The most experienced workers suffered the most fatalities, with those having ten or more years of experience suffering seven fatalities around the world.

Serious injuries

Regarding the more serious lost-time injuries, the largest percentage happened to floormen. Most lost-time injuries involved damage to fingers, followed by feet and ankles and legs. Body parts “caught between” objects and equipment were the most common lost-time incident, followed by “struck by” injuries and slips and falls to a different level.

As for the 2,386 recordable incidents reported by drilling contractors worldwide, almost 800 cases involved fingers. Almost 800 recordable incidents were of the “caught between” variety, with about 600 due to being caught between objects or equipment, and slightly fewer than 200 due to slips and falls.

Drilling contractors in Canada reported 3.4 million man-hours worked with no fatalities onshore or offshore. Most recordable and lost-time incidents in Canada occurred on the rig floor.

Five of the 22 worldwide drilling contractor fatalities occurred in the Middle East, where surveyed contractors logged 127.07 million man-hours.

U.S. stats

On- and off-shore contractors in the U.S. logged more than 140.22 million man-hours in 2013, with eight fatalities. All eight occurred on land. In U.S. on-shore operations, the lost-time incident rate remained unchanged at 0.51, and the recordable incidence rate improved by 20 percent from 1.97 to 1.58 per 100 full-time employees. Off-shore drilling improved its lost-time incident rate by 21 percent, declining from 0.19 in 2012 to 0.15 in 2013. Improvement was also reported in the recordable incident rate for off-shore drilling, which dropped from 0.93 to 0.78 per 100 full-time employees.

IADC says the purpose of its annual Incident Statistics Program survey is to help members improve safety on drilling rigs by providing data on incident trends and rates. The data is reported voluntarily and is unaudited.