Workplace deaths drop to record low

Laramie, WY – The number of occupational fatalities in Wyoming dropped to a record low last year. That's according to new data from the Wyoming Department of Employment and the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. It shows that the number of work-related deaths fell by more than 40 percent from 2008 to 2009, from 33 to 19. But Department of Employment economist Sarah Saulcy says a good deal of that decrease can be attributed to the fact that fewer people were working in Wyoming in 2009,
"I would say that there's a silver lining to an economic downturn. If people aren't working, they can't really be exposed to the things that might kill them. Such as highway accidents - if there's fewer truck drivers, then fewer truck drivers are probably going to die on the job."
According to a recent study from the state Department of Employment, a one percent decrease in employment results in two to three fewer deaths on the job in the course of a year. Wyoming's rate of occupational fatalities is not yet available. In recent years, Wyoming has had the worst rate of work-related deaths in the nation.