Oil prices and rig count weren't the only thing that was down this year in the North Dakota oil patch.

According to new data released by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, There were a total of 3 oil or gas workplace deaths in 2015. This is down from 7 in 2014 and 10 in 2013.

Eric Brooks, director of OSHA's Bismarck Area Office, says that the drop in deaths could be from improved safety standards, or due to a reduction of the workforce in the Bakken. Brooks says it'll take another year worth of data before they can conclusively tell what the cause of the drop is.

Injury claims are also down in 2015. North Dakota Workplace Safety and Insurance  director Bryan Klipfel said in a statement.

As the work force has declined out in the oil patch, WSI has seen a corresponding drop in the number of injured worker claims. There are fewer workers, so there are proportionally fewer injuries. And workers with more experience are usually the last ones cut from job sites, so, from that standpoint, the safety environment is stronger.

Whether it be an increase in safety training and procedures used on/around oil work sites, or simply a decrease in workers, it's always good news to have fewer injuries and deaths in any industry. Here's to hoping this trend continues.

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