State Occupational Epidemiologist Releases Annual Report on Workplace Fatalities

Newest Report shows a reduction of occupational fatalities in Wyoming

CHEYENNE - Today, the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services (DWS) released its annual Work-Related Fatal Injuries report. The report, which provides analysis over the years 2012-2017 and is the third multi-year report, offers a complete review of occupational fatality patterns in the state by industry and cause. In 2017, State Occupational Epidemiology identified 20 workplace fatalities in Wyoming, which is a reduction from the 27 fatalities identified in 2016 by the same program. On Dec. 18, the federal Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) also reported 20 deaths in Wyoming in 2017.

According to the state report, most of the high-risk industry groups monitored experienced stability or a decrease in the number of deaths from 2016 to 2017, except for the Transportation & Warehousing industry, which experienced an increase.

"We are pleased in the apparent decrease in occupational fatalities over the last year," said Governor Mead. "I appreciate the hard work of our industry safety alliances and Wyoming businesses in the effort to reduce workplace fatalities. Any workplace fatality is one too many. We want every Wyoming worker to be safe, to return home to their families and enjoy a high quality of life in our state."

During the period 2012-2017, 163 total occupational fatalities were identified by the state program. The Transportation and Warehousing industry accounted for the largest proportion (28 percent), followed by the Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting industry (17 percent), and the Oil & Gas Extraction and Production industries (15 percent). Motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause, accounting for 50 percent of the 163 deaths; this includes roadway travel crashes, as well as pedestrian-involved crashes on a worksite, ATV and UTV crashes, and aircraft crashes.

"In recent years, many steps have been taken to improve worksite safety and reduce occupational deaths in Wyoming," State Epidemiologist Meredith Towle said. "Restructuring the Department of Workforce Services technical consultation programs, and partnering with industry and safety alliances to increase training opportunities to employers and workers are all steps in the right direction. We will continue to prioritize and facilitate prevention efforts with evidence-based strategies."

Two DWS programs monitor workplace-related deaths: the State Occupational Epidemiologist and the federal CFOI program. Differences in program confidentiality rules and information access 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 and the nation.

The complete state occupational epidemiology report is available here.

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