Tag: Worker Safety

Commissioners ask governor to end supplemental federal benefits for unemployed County residents

At their public hearing on Monday, July 12, 2021, the Republican Mesa County Commissioners voted to officially request Governor Jared Polis end the supplemental unemployment benefits that have been helping keep unemployed and low income County residents and their families afloat during the pandemic.

Why? Because they want to force people to go back to work to fill mostly low paying, often difficult and dangerous front line jobs, often where people are likely to be exposed to the virus and would risk exposing their families to it as well.

15.8% of Mesa County’s population lives below the federal poverty line, more than the poverty rate for the state as a whole, at 11.5%. The 2018 Federal Poverty Level for annual income is $16,147 for an individual and $33,383 for a family of four.

To be sure, the Mesa County Commissioners aren’t living on wages like that. They make around $90,000/year when perks like health insurance are included.

Trump’s war on worker safety

Construction is one of the most dangerous occupations, but the Trump administration is not on the side of workers.

Falling from scaffolding, getting hurt by chemical hazards, getting cut by, caught in or crushed by equipment… many Mesa County workers face hazards like this every day on the job.

A significant number of people in Mesa County work in some the country’s most dangerous occupations. Nationwide 5,190 workers were killed on the job in 2016. On average, that’s more than 99 people a week, or over 14 worker deaths every day. The construction industry has by far the highest fatality rate of any industry in the U.S., accounting for fully 21% of workplace fatalities.  823 oil and gas industry workers were killed on the job in the U.S. from 2003 to 2010 — a fatality rate seven times greater than the rate for all U.S. industries. There were over a dozen fires and explosions at Colorado oil and gas facilities in the eight months following the fatal blast in Firestone, Colorado, in April, 2017 that killed two people in their home. In one 12 year span, one oil and gas worker was killed every three months in Colorado, all while workers face a system more focused on protecting drilling companies than the people who work for them.

It’s Time to End GOP Rule in Mesa County

GOPIndistressDo you plan to vote for Republican incumbents and the same Mesa County politicians we’ve had in office before?

Think again.

Mesa County’s long reliance on the local GOP has led it to disaster.

Just look at the Mesa County GOP’s record:

1) Our unemployment rate has long remained among the highest in the state;

2) Our local wages are among the very lowest in the state;

3) 13.4 percent of our area’s residents live below federal poverty level ($23,550 for a family of four),

4) Mesa County’s suicide rate is among the highest in the U.S.;

5) Mesa County is the drunkest county in the state in 2013 (based on the average blood alcohol concentration for arrested drunk drivers);

6) Forty one percent of School District 51 students qualify for free and reduced-cost lunches at school, and Kids Aid, the area nonprofit that provides backpacks of food to hungry students so they can get through the weekends without starving, sends 1,800 District 51 students home with backpacks full of non-perishable food home every WEEK.

Yes, you read that right. Eighteen hundred Mesa County school children are food insecure every WEEK. Have you heard a single local GOP elected official mention this state of affairs? No.

“DrillingAhead.com” Gives Inside Look at Problems, Accidents and Worker Behavior in Oil and Gas Field

DrillingAhead.com is a worldwide networking website for employees of the oil and gas field. Rotating news stories on the the site’s front page have headlines like “Fingertip Amputation Hangs Over Chesapeak Energy,” “2 Dead, 9 Injured After Oilfield Explosion Near Orla, Texas,” and “Texas Newspaper Investigation Questions Oilfield Safety; Says 663 Killed in 6 Years.” The latter story discusses the U.S. federal government’s failure to enforce safety standards on drilling rigs.

DrillingAhead.com also lets oil and gas field workers upload videos of what they see  at their worksites. So far workers have uploaded almost 16,000 videos onto the site, with many showing accidents and workers screwing around. One video titled “Directional Drilling Nightmare” shows a drill bit gone awry and surfacing in a nearby field, spewing mud and fluid around the area. Others show workers sleeping on the job, and another shows a gas plant exploding in fire at an unnamed location in Colorado. Another truly incredible video shows drilling rig workers engaging in a pipe-licking contest (video at left), where two men actually try to outdo each other for the length of time they can hold their tongues against an active, circulating vertical section of pipe.

DrillingAhead.com also links to a fascinating Flickr site featuring still photos of “Oilfield Accidents.” Photos show frightened workers clinging desperately to the railing of a severely listing offshore rig, an offshore rig sinking into the water, a truck impaled by oilfield equipment, rigs that have collapsed or caught fire (or both), and rigs completely encased in ice.

DrillingAhead.com gives a detailed inside look at the actual operation of drilling rigs around the world as seen by the workers themselves, and in so doing does plenty to undermine confidence — if there ever was any — in how drilling operations are carried out worldwide.

In fact, DrillingAhead.com provides ample justification to worry mightily about the safety and integrity of oil and gas drilling operations everywhere.