Wyoming regulatory officials have cited Denver-based Western Sugar Cooperative for hazards at its Torrington and Lovell facilities.
The department of Workforce Services and Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined the company almost two hundred thousand dollars. The fines were for inadequate safety standards and failure to guard equipment, among other problems.
Denver-based Western Sugar Beet Cooperative has been fined $71,000 for violations that led to the death of an employee in January at its facility in Lovell. OSHA and the Wyoming Department of Workforce services allege that because no guard rails had been installed, 28-year-old Anfesa Galaktionoff fell through an opening in the floor into a production pit.
The company was issued 12 violations for serious and repeat workplace hazards. Wyoming Workforce Services Director Joan Evans said in a statement that the young woman’s death was completely unnecessary.
Thirty-one workers died on the job in Wyoming in 2012, up from 29 the year before. That’s according to a report by Wyoming’s occupational epidemiologist. Wyoming has one of the worst workplace death rates in the nation. The report attributes that to the fact that a large proportion of Wyoming’s workforce is employed in high risk occupations like oil and gas, ranching, and construction jobs.
This month nine low-income fathers will graduate with structural steel welding certificates with the help of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services. DADS Making a Difference is a program that gives job training and other services to fathers who need help supporting their children.
Wyoming has hired a new epidemiologist tasked with trying to document, track and help reduce workplace injuries and deaths. Doctor Mack Sewell is from the New Mexico Department of Health.
Wyoming Workforce Services Director Joan Evans says that Sewell will hopefully carry forward work that identified a number things that could be improved to reduce workplace deaths in the state. Evans adds that since he will be working for the agency,it should enhance his ability to get data.