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Letter to the editor: All help with Oil Patch safety issues is greatly appreciated

Eric Brooks, North Dakota Occupational Safety and Health Administration  area director, announced last week that OSHA will send extra enforcement staff to North Dakota to conduct a safety blitz that focuses on the oil, gas and construction industries.

On behalf of the Missouri Slope Labor Council, AFL-CIO, I wanted to publicly thank Brooks and OSHA for their commitment to putting more boots on the ground to perform critical workplace safety monitoring and training in western North Dakota. North Dakota has the highest rate of workplace fatality in the country, and it’s no surprise that the majority of these fatalities occur in the energy and construction industries. We desperately need all the help we can get to ensure our workers go home in the same condition they arrive on the job site.

While the extra staffing appears to be temporary, we applaud this as an excellent first step in addressing the issue of workplace fatalities in North Dakota, and encourage OSHA to consider permanently increasing the number of OSHA staff in North Dakota.

Once again, kudos to Brooks and his team at OSHA for their tireless work of increasing the safety of North Dakotans on the job.

(Pfenning is president of the Missouri Slope Labor Council.)