WILLISTON, N.D. - National Construction Safety Week coincides with the start of the summer construction season, the busiest and most dangerous time of the year for builders.
The Williston Basin International Airport project is the largest project the city has ever taken on, so it can be a risky endeavor for lots of workers.
The latest Bureau of Labor Statistics show North Dakota has the second highest fatal occupational injury rates in the country, at 10.1 per every 100,000 workers, right behind Alaska’s rate of 10.2. The airport construction site has had 490 days with no lost work days due to injuries, so employees say this project is an exception to those statistics, and it's a notable accomplishment.
"That's very significant for a project of this size. Right now we're running a total of around 320 employees on the job site overall," said Greg Gordon, JE Dunn Safety and Security manager.
On average, more work-related injuries occur during the summer months than any other time of the year.
"It's just a good time of year to do that as construction ramps up for the season. Kind of good reminders for those who have been around that they're vigilant in their day to day operations,” said Brian Stark, XWA Safety and Security Senior Project Manager.
Anthony Dudas, City of Williston Airport Director, says they are being careful not to become a statistic because of the high standards they set which creates a culture of safety.
He adds, "We as a city have set precedent that we want to make sure that everybody maintains that safe culture, and understands what all of the different procedures and policies that we have, and those expectations we have to make sure that everybody does have that opportunity to go home safe every day."
In North Dakota, there were 38 fatal work injuries in 2017. And nationally, there are around 14 work-related deaths a day, but that's a significant drop from 45 years ago, where America averaged 38 a day.