Health measures for oil workers

Oil workers are professionals who work assiduously to meet up with the demands of oil production.

There is barely enough time to rest and this is why they are handsomely remunerated. Anyone who wants to get into the oil industry must be ready to cope with the stress that comes with it.

The downsides of being an oil worker is the inability to inculcate healthy lifestyles. And this is why most of them end up addicted or with mental health issues.

Here are some important health measures for oil workers

Eat a healthy diet

Oil workers depend more on junks than healthy food to keep them going. One of the reasons is, they barely have time to prepare a healthy meal for themselves. In fact, for those who are married, they are not usually at home to eat a healthy diet. Hence, they rely on junks for energy provision.

This innocent but unhealthy act exposes the oil worker to sickness which can keep them out of work. Oil workers need to make a more intentional habit to eat healthy meals.

Prioritize Sleep and rest

It is important to mention that for anyone, if you don’t prioritize sleep and rest, it can adversely affect your energy levels. For oil workers, this is what happens to them when they don’t get enough sleep and rest.

They need to ensure that no matter how busy their schedule is, they should take ample time to rest. Owing to the busy schedule of an oil worker, they should sleep a minimum of 6-7 hours each day.

Take enough water

Instead of taking alcohol or other liquid substances, oil workers are advised to take much water. The reason is because, water helps to keep the cells hydrated. The oil industry is demanding, and to remain active, oil workers need to be hydrated.

There are other health measures that fall under the ones listed in this piece. Oil workers need to know that their health is topmost priority and it comes first before their career.

Reasons why oil workers get addicted

For any country that has oil as one of her major sources of revenue, the oil industry is usually one of the largest.

As you can expect, several people would be drawn to working in the oil industry because of the high salary. Not minding the job demands, most people feel the money would make up for it.

The interesting thing about the oil industry is, you don’t need the highest level of education to get started.

Different countries have their required academic qualification but it is not as high as everyone thinks. It is important to mention that one of the downsides of the oil industry is the addiction that comes with it.

Here are some reasons why oil workers get addicted


Oil workers are greatly stressed and the reason for this is not far-fetched. The oil industry is highly demanding due to the need to produce a high volume of oil daily. Hence, oil workers are expected to work round the clock to meet these demands.

Even though they take turns at work, there is little or no time for them to rest. To tackle this stress, oil workers abuse drugs or alcohol. And at first, they are temporarily relieved but with time, they discover they need more to remain stable.

At this stage, their addiction sets in because they need the addictive substances to remain stable.

Peer pressure

Oil workers are usually friends and acquaintances with one another so they share many things in common. Several oil workers abuse either drugs or alcohol and it is expected that their colleagues would follow suit in due time.

Inability to relax properly

It is common knowledge that oil workers are greatly stressed and most of them don’t know how to de-stress.

Hence, they indulge in addictive habits to help them relax. It is important to mention that asides drug and alcohol addiction, there are other types of addiction like gambling, internet, sex addiction, etc.


The oil industry is one of the biggest in Canada. It is also one of the juiciest, and this comes as no surprise as to why people are drawn to the industry.

The salary which the smallest oil employee in Canada would earn, is very high, and the reason why oil companies are able to pay up wages is because, oil is the top export product in Canada.

There is really no university education which is needed for a good number of the oil position, so anyone is welcome to join. Due to the fact that the salaries are high, there are a good number of things which it does for the families of oil workers.

It provides a good quality of life for the family of the employees, it caters for all the needed healthcare costs; education and the likes. However, the sad part about this is, it is one of the reasons why a good number of oil workers are addicted.

Now, looking at the demands which comes with the oil industry in Canada, it is a very stressful one.

The reason for this is, a very high output is needed on a daily basis, and hence, the industry cannot afford to slack in its production. So, workers are kept on their toes continually to ensure that the daily demands are met.

Therefore, these workers are stretched beyond their coping limit, and this makes them to indulge in detrimental activities such as substance abuse which seems to be the most prevalent.

Now, there is a misrepresentation which substance abuse gives. It makes you feel as if you are being aided to feel better. However, the effects which comes with this is short-lived, because they would need to refuel by taking more.

Since oil workers are rich folks, indulging in substance abuse does not seem to be a problem for them, because they can afford it.

With time, these individuals become addicted to substance abuse, and it begins to take a toll on their health, which makes them to stop working eventually.


The substance abuse which is currently facing Canadian Oil workers, is one which can be referred to as destructive, as this addiction has been known to cause the destruction of lives, especially for men who initially came to Canada with the mind of making a living for themselves and their families. Eventually, they got caught up in the web of addiction, and breaking free from it becomes nearly impossible.

Now, they cannot entirely be blamed, based on the fact that the living conditions are not that great, there is a lot they have to sacrifice to ensure that they perform well as oil workers. Worthy of mention, is the fact that there is a lot of money to make in the oil industry, hence, the stress can be assumed to be worth it. This is one of the reasons why oil workers do not really take the stress to heart, since the money makes up for it.

First of all, Oil workers in Canada are known to invest in drugs and alcohol. They take these substances because it helps them calm their nerves after a hard day’s job, and they cannot be totally blamed, as it is likely that this act was also passed down to them. For instance, one prominent drug which they take, is Cocaine. In the oil sands, cocaine is very lucrative to the dealers, and accessible to the oil workers, and it is largely responsible for the causes of mental issues which is present among oil workers.

Asides drugs, the same applies to alcohol. The rate of alcohol availability among oil workers in Canada, is also on the increase. Oil workers also take alcohol in order to cool off, without knowing that there is a detrimental effect in the long run.

It is essential that oil workers who are down with addiction to either drugs or alcohol, need to seek prompt treatment in order to salvage their condition. There are a good number of working rehab centres which can adequately cater for addicts irrespective of the degree of addiction. In addition to this, addicts should also be aware that, all the love and encouragement which they can get in order to break free from addiction, is available at addiction treatment centres.

The Nature of Boomtowns

oil boomtownBoom towns have a culture all their own, and they are not always pretty. Boom towns like Fort McMurray, Alberta are established when a valuable resource is discovered in the vicinity of the town and the city grows rapidly with the efforts to harvest the natural resource. The term “boom town” is typically applied to mining cities that are excavating for oil or precious metals. Because of how workers flock to boom towns to make money, and because of how the towns struggle to accommodate the influx of new residents, boom towns are known to have particular surpluses and deficits, both moral and logistical.

The things boom towns tend to have too much of are men, jobs, money and population. Because boom towns are typically built upon labor trades, it is men who seek and obtain a majority of the jobs. This leads to an imbalance in the town’s population between men and women, making it male dominated. Boom towns obviously have a surplus of jobs or they would not be boom towns. While a boom town is a boom town, its primary industry is ever expanding, creating new jobs daily. The work is highly profitable and earns its employees an impressive wage that they could not make anywhere else. As more and more people pile into town to make their fortune, the population grows to an unmanageable size.

But where boom towns have an excess of some things, they have a deficit of others. Boom towns commonly lack women, space, infrastructure and entertainment. Because it is men who flock to trade jobs, boom towns typically do not have enough women contributing to the population and turn into a heavily male dominated culture. Space for people becomes very limited as the town’s population grows at a faster rate than its infrastructure, causing overcrowding and tension. As the governing bodies struggle to provide basic services to the rapidly growing population, recreation for town residents gets put on the back burner and neglected, which consistently leads to debauchery among bored boom town residents.

Fort McMurray Boredom

boringThe oil worker population is largely made up of displaced men, averaging 30-years in age, who have often separated from their support systems in order to be there. The work sites and camps are full of testosterone, energy, angst and boredom. When these things are fueled by large paychecks, addictions and substance abuse run rampant.

Particularly in winter when conditions are harsh and frigid, there is simply nothing for the oil workers to do for recreation and the lack of recreational activities in Fort McMurray and in the surrounding oil camps is in part responsible for the area’s extreme addiction and substance abuse problems. The reasons for this are numerous. Only ten years ago, Fort McMurray had a population of 50,000 people; a number that has more than doubled in the present day. This kind of growth is almost unprecedented for a city, though it is common for a boom town. Predictably, the city and municipality have been unable to keep the city’s infrastructure relative to the size and the needs of the population, so recreational amenities are lacking.

However, there have been some efforts to provide entertainment for the oil workers. Oil giant Syncrude recently built a huge recreation center near the downtown area to give oil workers access to gym and game amenities – an effort to give employees much needed physical activity while they are not working. The trouble is, the draw to Fort McMurray is so massive and the wages are so lucrative that the city should look vastly different in order to support the needs of its population. The residents of Fort McMurray are able to afford a lifestyle full of entertainment, but the area they live in is cramped, unequipped and overwhelmed with people.

Currently, Alberta’s addiction treatment services are overextended, and many people have expressed the need for more recreational facilities and addiction service centers. Whether or not this goal will come to fruition remains to be seen, and people in need of treatment are venturing out to other provinces for help.

Substance Abuse and Addiction in the Oil Industry

oil industry substance abuse addictionAddiction is a difficult thing to defeat in any walk of life, but in Alberta’s oil industry, there is a particularly difficult addiction phenomenon taking place. The accessibility of alcohol and drugs due to enormous wages, integrated with uniquely rough working conditions, has created an addiction problem in Fort MacMurray today of extreme proportions. Alberta’s network of rehab centers have done all they can with the resources they have, but they are not numerous enough to eradicate the issue. It is essential that proper inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment be offered to oil workers.

When substance misuse is consuming an individual’s life, often to the point of physical reliance on the substance, they need expert intervention in order to confront their trouble and permanently end it. This indicates that expert intervention services must be used to talk to the abuser about their trouble, along with the arrangement of an inpatient medical facility to watch the individual during their detoxification, a treatment facility to safely separate the individual from the thing they are addicted to, extensive individual counselling sessions to take care of the underlying troubles that create addiction and ongoing treatment after the program to guarantee continued sobriety.

There is no point in an oil employee bypassing addiction therapy and suffering in silence. If the rehabilitation support services of Alberta can not fulfill the requirements of addicted individuals in the oil industry, then oil workers must look outside of Alberta. Many oil business permit a leave of absence for drug abuse rehabilitation, and they are aware that rehabilitation must be prioritized over all else. Addiction is taking the lives of oil workers through disease, overdose and self-destruction at alarming rates, and preventative measures should be taken.

Pay Rate

oil industry pay rate

The wage an oil worker makes in Northern Alberta is, of course, the draw to the area. The smallest salary that an Alberta oil employee will make is approximately $90,000 per year. Oil companies are able to pay these salaries because oil is Canada’s chief export. It is estimated that the oil industry of Alberta will generate $3.2 trillion dollars in revenue over the next 35 years. Considering no university education is required for most oil positions, the attraction to them is overwhelming.
These astronomical salaries obviously do a lot of positive things for workers. Almost all oil workers are men, many of whom are supporting families. The generous wages provide for families raising children, cover healthcare costs and in general provide a good quality of life for employees and their families. However, the high pay rate is also responsible for some detrimental things, not the least of which are the addiction and substance abuse problems that run rampant in oil camps and within Fort McMurray.
In a place with incredibly harsh winter conditions, near a small city with very little entertainment, high wages can be more of a curse than a blessing. It did not take the drug trade long to move into Fort McMurray. Any number of highly addictive substances can be found for purchase in the city, particularly marijuana and cocaine. Alcohol is also a very popular substance of choice among oil workers. The high salaries of the oil industry bring a largely transient population into the area, which combined with a thriving drug trade has made Fort McMurray the fifth most crime ridden city in all of Canada.
Reversing the trend of addiction and substance abuse in and around the oil sands will not be a simple task. Rehabilitation and addiction service facilities in Alberta are already overflowing with people in need. The salaries themselves are not the problem; the boredom is. Oil workers simply need more options for how to spend their time. Fort McMurray needs to create more healthy entertainment for the booming population, as well as take the need for addiction and substance abuse treatment seriously.

Working and Living Conditions

oil industry working conditionsPart of the cause of Northern Alberta’s oil worker addiction problems are the harsh living and working conditions. The oil sands are located near Fort McMurray, which is largely isolated in a section of Canada’s vast Boreal forest. The area is considered northern living, and an allowance is given to residents accordingly. Because the oil sands are so far north and remote, and because the living conditions near the oil sands are so cramped and unaccommodating, the area is a breeding ground for addition and substance abuse problems.

The hardest part of working in Alberta’s oil industry is the cold. This is an obvious and unavoidable environmental factor. Temperatures reach below minus sixty degrees Celsius in the winter and take lives every year. Working in the outdoor oil pits means wearing protective winter gear and many layers. A number of precautions must be taken to keep equipment and instruments from freezing. In day to day life, driving, commuting, running errands and even taking the trash out have to be done with extreme caution to stay protected from the cold. Many people site the cold as being the most difficult part of living in Fort McMurray or in an oil camp, and thus one of the major contributors to addiction and substance abuse.

Personal space is also a major issue for oil workers. Whether one is living in Fort McMurray or on-site in a camp, the living conditions are very tight. Camps provide a very small amount of living space to each employee, which tends to cause feelings of agitation and depression. This in itself can lead to substance abuse and addiction problems, but the way it really hurts oil workers is by driving them into town to blow off steam, where they are offered alcohol, drugs, sex and gambling opportunities for purchase. Because there is so little healthy recreation to participate in in Fort McMurray, these addictive substances and activities are the common ways of killing time as an oil worker.

Although a majority of the employment in Fort McMurray comes from the oil industry, oil workers are by no means the only working professionals who are affected by addiction and substance abuse. Being a dentist in Fort McMurray, or being an attorney, CEO or physician means surviving under many of the same harsh living conditions. Addiction and substance abuse run rampant through out the city.

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Common Oil Worker Addictions

oil worker common addictionIn Northern Alberta, on-site at the tar sands, a culture of addiction and substance abuse has emerged among the oil workers. The working and living conditions promote this way of life and perpetuate it every day. The winters are extremely harsh and recreational opportunities are very limited, yet the pay rate is incredibly high. This leaves workers with a lot of time on their hands and very minimal ways of spending it, which is how addiction and crime gets in the door. A number of addictive substances and activities are available to the largely male population in place of healthy activities. Statistically, the two most prevalent addictions in the Fort McMurray, Alberta area are alcohol and cocaine.

Alcohol is one of the oldest addictive substances in the world, and has been abused as long as it has been around. Canada, Russia and other Northern lying regions that turn frigid in the winter are known for their alcohol abuse. Alcohol is widely available throughout these parts of the world, which is likely because it has a numbing effect when consumed heavily and gives the feeling of a false warmth. In Fort McMurray and the tar sands area, alcohol is immensely popular as a way of coping with the -60-degree temperatures that can ravage the region in January and February. Alcohol sales in Alberta are privatized, meaning there is less government regulation on the sale of alcohol than in some other provinces. It is also an affordable substance, with a wide range of qualities and prices to accommodate any budget, making it widely available and very popular.

Unlike alcohol, cocaine is an expensive substance to purchase, but because most of the people living in Fort McMurray work for the oil industry, money is not an object. Illegal cocaine sales are some of the most lucrative in the country in Fort McMurray. Residents of the city have claimed that cocaine is a staple at almost every party. The Hells Angels are a presence in Fort McMurray and are largely responsible for the illegal drug trade and the access the city has to cocaine. Appropriately dubbed the “rich man’s drug,” cocaine is thought of as the favorite way to kill time among oil workers. It has even permeated the local culture through language; in time off from work, short-changes are commonly referred to as “snort-changes” in reference to cocaine use. Residents of Fort McMurray who are struggling with addiction or substance abuse problems such seek out the services of a Fort McMurray rehab right away.