workplace safety

Mining industry re-focuses on safety

May 8, 2012

 In response to concerns about workplace safety, the Wyoming Mining Association is focusing even more on safety issues. 

The Bureau of Labor statistics says that Mining is actually much safer than oil and gas and even the food manufacturing industry.  Coal is among the safest industries in the state and Alpha Coal West’s Steve Rennell says that’s because they have experienced workers.  He says they are trying to focus their attention on workers new to coal.

Wyoming has hired seven new Occupational Safety and Health Administration safety consultants to improve workplace safety in the state.

Workplace safety has been a real problem in Wyoming. The state ranked among the top two in the nation in workplace fatalities in eight of the last nine years. 

John Ysebaert of Workforce Services will oversee the program. He says that, instead of doling out fines for workplace safety violations, the OSHA consultants willhelp small businesses to develop and comply with safety requirements on a voluntary basis.

The legislature has approved an incentive based-worker safety bill.

Wyoming is among the leaders in workplace deaths and the bill provides up to seven new officers who will help companies develop and comply with safety requirements on a voluntary basis. It also provides grant money for small businesses to improve workplace safety.

Kim Floyd of the AFL-CIO says he had wanted tougher penalties for companies and people who violate safe working standards, but he says this bill is a good step.

A measure intended to increase workplace safety is making its way through the Wyoming House of Representatives.  The bill is intended to encourage companies to contact OSHA to determine if they're doing what they can to ensure workplace safety.  Grants will be provided to help companies implement safety programs and buy necessary equipment.   Cheyenne Democrat Mary Throne had wanted stiffer penalties to ensure compliance, but she is hopeful that this approach will work. “I certainly think we need to provide more resources to employers and to OSHA to help those folks who want to engage in th

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.

Gov. Matt Mead says tougher regulations aren’t the only answer to improving workplace safety.

“I want to be careful before we move down that path, because I also think that industry, on a voluntary basis, has a role to play,” Mead said. “I think enforcement is also part of it. But … we need to make sure that we have the data on what are the cause of these accidents and what are possible corrections for those accidents.”

Mead was speaking to the Wyoming Press Association in Laramie.

Gov. Matt Mead says he will implement recommendations from a new report focused on improving safety for workers.

Wyoming has one of the nation’s highest rates of workplace fatalities, and the governor recently commissioned a study to figure out why.

An epidemiologist who spent a year studying the high rate of workplace deaths in Wyoming says his research points to lack of a "culture of safety" in Wyoming.

Dr. Timothy Ryan says in a report to Gov. Matt Mead that more than 85 percent of reports on deadly workplace accidents in Wyoming show safety procedures not being followed.

Wyoming consistently has one of the nation's highest rates of workplace fatalities, more than 12 per 100,000 workers in 2010. That's more than three-and-a-half times the national average.

Many deaths occur in the oil and gas industry.

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