Mere days after the federal government unveiled new rules regarding safety standards for oil tankers transporting Bakken oil around the country, a train derailed and caught ablaze. The accident happened in North Dakota on May 6 and caused an indeterminate amount of damage. The accident highlights the importance of the new rules to prevent property damage and burn injuries that could result in workers' compensation filings by oil and train workers.
BNSF, the second-largest freight railroad network in North America, is being sued by a former employee. This follows a series of explosions that occurred when one of the defendant's trains carrying Bakken crude oil derailed in North Dakota in 2013. This case is reportedly the first time that legal action has been taken against an employer by an employee who worked on an oil train.
Environmentalists in North Dakota are concerned about the volatility of the Bakken crude gases. The significant increase in rail shipments of highly combustible Bakken crude oil is distressing, particularly because explosions typically have devastating consequences. Fatalities and severe burn injuries are often the results of such explosions.
North Dakota oil fields produce more than a million barrels of product every day. However, the lack of infrastructure to move that oil through pipelines requires the use of trucks and the rail system. This method has resulted in terrible accidents that has caused massive explosions in the past.