The AFL-CIO, a coalition group of labor unions, has released a report blasting industry for failing to make workplaces safer, especially in oil and gas. Wyoming has ranked as one of the five most deadly states to work in for the last ten years. In 2012, only North Dakota had more workplace fatalities. Kim Floyd, Executive Secretary for the Wyoming chapter of the AFL-CIO says it has a lot to do with the focus of both states’ economies.
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.
Wyoming continues to have one of the worst rates of death on the job. New figures from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics show that Wyoming had the second-highest rate of deadly workplace accidents of any state in 2010. Only West Virginia had a higher rate. Contributing to West Virginia's rate in 2010 was a coal mine accident that killed 29 workers and was the nation's deadliest mine accident in 40 years. Wyoming's high workplace death rate reflects an energy industry
For the last decade, Wyoming has ranked either first or second for workplace deaths and two groups are asking legislators to change things. The AFL-CIO and the Spence Association for Employee Rights point to a recent report that said that Wyoming has had 622 work related deaths since 1992. Kim Floyd of the AFL-CIO says that is too many and it’s time for state leaders to change their approach and finally do something to improve the workplace culture.