North Dakota. The great expanse. Sounds romantic, in that sun setting over a bison grazing on the prairie, Americana sort of way. Great place to visit; not such a great place to work—North Dakota is also full of oil and gas that ain’t gonna extract itself.

And indeed, the fossil fuel-rich state leads the nation in work-related deaths, according to a recent study sponsored by the labor union federation AFL-CIO. Via the Guardian:

In 2013, 4,585 US workers were killed on the job and an estimated 50,000 died from occupational diseases, found the report. Additionally, about 3.8m work-related injuries and illnesses were reported. The AFL-CIO estimates that the real number of work-related injuries is somewhere between 7.6m to 11.4m each year as many work-related injuries are not reported.

For the third year in a row, North Dakota was the deadliest state to work in the US.

“The state’s job fatality rate of 14.9 per 100,000 was more than four times the national average,” according to the report. North Dakota’s fatality rate has more than doubled since 2007, with 56 workers killed on the job in 2013.

Four times the national average! And workers keep streaming in because not only are there jobs, but new jobs keep opening up in part because employees keep dying. There’s a guaranteed turnover. The worst offenders are, unsurprisingly, oil and gas companies:

“The fatality rate in the mining and oil and gas extraction sector in North Dakota was an alarming 84.7 per 100,000, nearly seven times the national fatality rate of 12.4 per 100,000 in this industry; and the construction sector fatality rate in North Dakota was 44.1 per 100,000, more than four times the national fatality rate of 9.7 per 100,000 for construction.”

So will anything be done to help these companies manage their rather high employee fatality rate? Probably not. It’s been very lucrative.

This post has been edited to correct an error; the national average was reported as a state average.

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