State Occupational Epidemiologist Releases Most Comprehensive Report on Workplace Fatalities Since Program's Inception

CHEYENNE - The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services (DWS) State Occupational Epidemiologist Meredith Towle released the first report of its kind combining multiple years of workplace fatality data in Wyoming. The report, which provides analysis over years 2012-2015, reveals a complete view of recent fatality patterns in the state by industry and cause.

Some of the report's key findings include that from 2012-2015 most workplace deaths in the construction industry were caused by falls from height, while most oil and gas-related workplace fatalities were caused by motor vehicle crashes. Fatalities in the agriculture sector were primarily attributed to contact with an object or equipment, a transportation incident on the worksite or fatal injuries from an animal. The report notes that overall, 61.2 percent of occupational fatality victims were Wyoming residents. Natrona County experienced the highest number of workplace fatalities in the state during 2012-2015.

This report also includes a new historical summary of workplace fatalities by industry from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI). These data show an increasing number of fatalities in agriculture since 2003, most of which occurred in the cattle farming and ranching sector. These data also show that the majority of truck transportation fatalities occur in the long-distance freight trucking sectors.

"We want to make sure that workers return home safely. Safe business practices are key to good business," said Governor Mead. "Working with the legislature and the industry safety coalitions, we have made progress but there is clearly more to do. I thank the Department of Workforce Services for their work on this important comprehensive report."

"This multi-year report provides the most in-depth insight into occupational fatality trends in Wyoming to date," said Ms. Towle. "Building awareness around the common themes present in these fatal incidents is an essential step towards prevention." Towle partners with industry groups, public health and DWS employer programs to share information on the causes, frequency and distribution of occupational injuries.

The DWS Occupational Safety and Health Administration has jurisdiction over twenty-six percent of the fatalities discussed in the report.

Towle identified 30 workplace deaths in the State of Wyoming in 2015. Thirty-seven fatalities were reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) in 2014.

Two DWS programs monitor workplace-related deaths: the State Occupational Epidemiologist's count of workplace deaths, and the federal CFOI program. Differences in program confidentiality rules, along with access to federal investigatory information means that the two strategies will likely produce different counts of workplace deaths. The programs collect similar information but have two different goals: the State-run program allows for a more detailed look at workplace deaths; while the CFOI program allows for the collection of standardized data across states. The complete state report and other resources are available here.

The CFOI report will be released on .

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