Gillette Republican has drafted a proposed worker safety bill

Feb 7, 2012

Representative Tom Lubnau has drafted legislation aimed at improving workplace safety in Wyoming.

The bill would allocate $250,000 dollars in grant money for companies who want to conduct trainings or purchase safety equipment but don’t have the resources to do so. It would also enable the Department of Employment to hire five additional safety consultants, who would do courtesy visits to work sites.

“It’s a non-punitive inspection,” Lubnau said. “The consultants will go to Wyoming employers and just meet with them, examine their facilities, and make recommendations on how to make the workplaces safer.”

Wyoming has one of the nation’s highest rates of workplace fatalities, and workers’ rights advocates want harsher penalties for companies that don’t comply with safety regulations.

But Lubnau says a softer approach is needed.

Nobody wakes up in the morning and says, ‘I want to hurt an employee.’ People want safe workplaces,” Lubnau said. “And so rather than taking a punitive, top-down, threatening approach, … this is treating people the way that I’d want to be treated, which is fairly and honestly and in a helpful manner rather than in a punishing manner.”

Gov. Matt Mead agrees that the state should use a carrot, rather than a stick, to make companies safer. Last month, the governor proposed adding up to seven new positions for safety consultants.