workplace safety

Open Spaces
5:07 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Latino Workplace Safety

Construction site in Laramie, WY.
Credit Melodie Edwards

Too many jobs, not enough bodies. That’s the dilemma of many Wyoming construction companies these days that can’t keep up with the building demands of the state’s energy boom. An influx of Latino workers are moving to Wyoming to take up the slack. And national figures show that Hispanics lead the nation in fatal injuries. And with Wyoming having one of the worst records for workplace fatalities, the question is: are Latinos putting themselves in the line of fire? 

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4:07 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Jury Awards Injured Oil And Gas Worker $5.1M

A Wyoming jury has awarded $5.1 million dollars in damages to an oil and gas worker who was injured on the job in 2011.

Then 22-year-old Horr was part of a crew working on a Merit Energy oil well when built-up pressure escaped, sending a piece of rubber through his left arm and shattering it. Attorney Bryan Ulmer with the Spence Law Firm says Horr has lost use of his arm as a result.

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11:40 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Wyoming Worker's Compensation To Adopt Split Plan

Credit Robert Verzo via Flickr

If a proposed plan is adopted, employers in the state could face some significant changes to how worker’s compensation sets its premiums.  Right now, Wyoming only factors in how severe a company’s claims are.   This new system—called a split plan-- would hold companies accountable for both severity and frequency, as is the case in most states. 

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6:21 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Labor Group Blasts Wyoming’s Workplace Safety Record

Credit AFL-CIO

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.

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7:10 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

Workers Killed Or Injured Are Remembered

Worker safety advocates and family members gathered in Cheyenne Monday morning to commemorate Workers’ Memorial Day. The day remembers those who have been killed or injured while on the job. 

Dan Neal with the Equality State Policy Center organized the event.

Started it by ringing a bell 35 separate times to remember the 35 workers who died on the job in Wyoming in 2012.”

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6:36 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

Natural Gas Fire Still Burning

A small fire continues to burn at a western Wyoming natural gas processing plant idled by an explosion since last week.

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7:24 am
Fri November 15, 2013

Work-related deaths on the rise

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.

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3:34 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Sinclair working to fix safety problems, OSHA says

The head of Wyoming’s Occupation Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, says the Sinclair Refinery is working to improve its safety record.

Earlier this week, we reported that OSHA would consider shutting down the refinery if another life-threatening incident happens at the plant.

But the agency’s John Ysebaert says he’s hopeful that that won’t be necessary.

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Workplace deaths
6:27 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Workplace deaths in Wyoming increase

There were 35 workplace fatalities in the state last year, according to a report released by the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services. That’s up from 32 in 2011.

 The deadliest occupations were in the “trade, transport and utilities” category, with 12 fatalities, followed by jobs in the “natural resources and mining” category, which had 10 deaths.

 Almost half of all work place fatalities were the result of what the report called “transportation incidents.” 

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5:01 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Two hospitalized after Sinclair refinery fire

Two people were taken to the hospital after a fire started at the Sinclair Refinery near Rawlins yesterday.

John Ysebaert with Wyoming’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration, or OSHA, says the fire started when workers who were erecting scaffolding tripped a valve. That released so-called “super-heated diesel,” which ignites when it hits the atmosphere.

OSHA is investigating the incident.

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8:17 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Rock Springs summit seeks to improve workplace safety

The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services is hosting a summit in Rock Springs on Tuesday and Wednesday aimed at helping make Wyoming’s workplaces safer.

Wyoming consistently has one of the highest rates of workplace fatalities in the nation. The summit will offer trainings and give companies a chance to share ideas about how to prevent workplace accidents.

Workforce Services Director Joan Evans says they’ll also honor employees who took steps to protect fellow workers.

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6:12 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Legislature will consider new Workplace safety incentive

Wyoming’s incoming Speaker of the House plans to introduce another piece of legislation that attempts to improve Workplace Safety in the state.  

Gillette Republican Tom Lubnau is proposing a ten-percent reduction in Workers Compensation rates for companies that complete the Workplace Safety Contracts program.  Lubnau says that involves helping employers create a safer work environment for their employees.


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4:45 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

Wyoming's Workplace Deaths Drop

The Wyoming Department of Work Force Services says the number of workplace fatalities decreased by four from 2010 to 2011. 

David Bullard of the Research and Planning section of the department says for the fourth consecutive year the number of workplace deaths in Wyoming was below the average of 34 per year and in 2011 the number was 29.  But Bullard says this is far from a trend.

“No I wouldn’t say that.  I mean we saw a slight decrease in 2011, but the random nature of these accidents makes it so we can’t rule out that it’s something random going on.”

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5:56 pm
Thu August 30, 2012

Labor organization remains concerned about Workplace Safety


The Executive Secretary of the Wyoming AFL-CIO – a workers union organization- remains optimistic that the state’s efforts to reduce workplace deaths may work.  

On this Labor Day weekend, Kim Floyd is pleased that that the state has increased the number of safety inspectors in Wyoming by seven, and has found money for workplace safety grants for businesses.  But Floyd says it will probably take some time until there is improvement.

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6:18 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

New epidemiologist sees seatbelt enforcement as potential means to curbing workplace fatalities

Wyoming’s new state epidemiologist, Mack Sewell, says he plans to look at seatbelt enforcement as a means to improve workplace safety.

In 2010, the state had the second highest rate of workplace deaths in the nation.  In fact, Wyoming traditionally ranks near the top in this category. Sewell will be specifically asked to study workplace injuries and deaths, and then work with lawmakers to try to address the problem. 

He says there’s a lot he still needs to learn about Wyoming’s situation, but he says seatbelts are an easy place to start.

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5:54 pm
Wed May 23, 2012

Wyoming hires new epidemiologist to improve workplace safety

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.                         

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6:23 pm
Tue May 8, 2012

Three Sinclair workers harmed in flash fire

Three workers at the Sinclair refinery near
Rawlins have been flown to a burn center in Colorado following a
flash fire.
     Sinclair Oil Corp. says the incident happened inside a gas
recovery unit at its refinery, about five miles east of Rawlins,
about 10:20 a.m. Tuesday.
     Sinclair Police Chief Jeff Sanders says it was a flash fire and
four workers were originally taken to Memorial Hospital of Carbon
     A Memorial Hospital spokeswoman says three of the workers were

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5:52 pm
Tue May 8, 2012

Mining industry re-focuses on safety

 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.

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6:24 am
Mon April 30, 2012

Wyoming hires seven OSHA consultants

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.

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6:01 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

Legislature approves workplace safety bill

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.

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7:36 am
Mon February 27, 2012

Bill would encourage companies to make workplaces safer

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

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7:22 am
Tue February 7, 2012

Gillette Republican has drafted a proposed worker safety bill

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.

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9:25 am
Mon January 16, 2012

Mead wants data before he supports tougher workplace safety regulations

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.

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6:00 am
Thu January 5, 2012

Mead promises to improve workplace safety

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.

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7:56 am
Wed January 4, 2012

Report: Lack of workplace safety culture in Wyo.

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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