Because of the rural location of the oil fields and low population density, there is a lack of experienced oil and gas workers in North Dakota. Furthermore, there is a perception that oil field workers are "traditional" and the oil companies' ability to attract and retain talent in the oilfield may very well be hampered by their "stodgy image" (13).
The oil and gas industry employed an estimated 12,750 workers in 2009, and because the number of wells being drilled is increasing, the number of workers is also expected to increase. (11). The worker population in North Dakota is interesting and poses unique challenges for changing the culture of health and safety in the workplace. The oil and gas industry, in particular, faces challenges specific to ND in recruiting employees; these challenges include low population base, low unemployment, high labor force participation, and expanding economy in most other sectors (14). Furthermore, they have an aging population, and many young workers move out of state after high school and college (out-migration) (14). In an effort to maximize productivity, the industry has to tap into the resources available, which are lacking.