State workplace safety task force meets

Laramie, WY – Governor Freudenthal is trying to bring down the number of Wyoming workers killed or injured on the job. Gary Hartman is a senior advisor to the Governor. He says they've created a task force with Wyoming employers in oil and gas, mining, construction and other industries. They're also bringing in national experts on workplace safety.

Hartman says the group is looking into why Wyoming has one of the nation's highest rates of deaths on the job, and whether efforts at prevention have been successful. For example, many companies offer bonuses to workers who go long stretches without accidents. But Hartman says there's a possibility that thos incentives can backfire. "Now does it tend to cover up someone who gets their hand mashed if we report this or go to the hospital?" he asked. "Those are the kind of things we want to look at to see is it occurring and if so, how do we stop that."

Hartman says the group may eventually make policy recommendations to the legislature. In 2007, Wyoming had the highest rate of workplace fatalities in the nation. Forty-eight people died that year, according to the most recent federal data.