Unlikely attack takes worker's life at oil sands operation in Canada

In a tragic event, a black bear attacked and killed a worker earlier this week at a Suncor oil sands operation in northern Alberta. The bear was put down after the attack. 

No matter how unlikely, events like these happen. An article on CNN.com cites a 2011 Journal of Wildlife Management report that states 63 people were killed in 59 incidents in Canada and the United States between 1900 and 2009. The study also says that bear attacks have increased as human populations and developments rise. 

Barrie Harrison of Alberta Occupational Health and Safety told CNN he’s not aware of any other incidents where a worker was seriously injured or killed by a bear. According to OSHA, companies are required to have procedures in place to assess and handle potential hazards, although a rare incident like a bear attack is not specified. 

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An investigation over the next few weeks will determine if the fatal incident could have been prevented. There have been no reports as to whether Suncor will face any charges. 

A bear attack is unlikely, however, preparing oilfield workers for any potential hazardous situation is essential. Other than federal safety procedures and regulation requirements, how do you keep employees safe? 

Check out these safety-related articles for ways to promote safety on the job: www.gomcmag.com/tag/875/safety.

Related: New Interest in Upper Devonian Shale Spurs Oil & Gas Exploration

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