Report: 31 workers died on the job in Wyoming in 2012

— November 14, 2013

Dustin Bleizeffer

There were 31 workplace fatalities in Wyoming in 2012, up from 29 in 2011, according to a new report released today by Wyoming Occupational Epidemiologist Mack Sewell. Those numbers are lower than in years past. On average, 36 workers died on the job each year for the period of 2001 to 2010. The report doesn’t analyze what has contributed to the lower fatality rates.

Sewell notes that fatalities in 2012 were disproportionately older, white males who held residency outside the state, and worked in some form of transportation or with heavy equipment.

“Not surprisingly, transportation events lead the industry classification of deaths. This has been true for many years in Wyoming,” according to the report.

Construction leads in injuries requiring hospitalizations and resulting in high medical cost claims and long term disability claims. Sewell said that total claims for workplace injuries have been on a downward trend since 2005, but the report doesn’t account for injuries that go unreported. “Tracking non-fatal work-related injuries is hindered by the fact that there is no single system that will allow the tracking of all injuries. Wyoming is fortunate, however, in that it is one of four states that have a monopolistic system for worker’s compensation claims,” according to the report.

Bill Adams of Jackson Electric Inc. operates a trackhoe at a construction site in Casper. (Dustin Bleizeffer/WyoFile)

“The unique combination of Wyoming’s prevalent industries, its climate and geography create challenges for safe working environments,” Sewell said in a prepared statement. “It is my hope that this report will provide insight into areas where improvement needs to be made.”

“We know that changing the culture of safety will not happen overnight,” said Director of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services Joan Evans. “The surveillance system developed by Dr. Sewell is the first of its kind in Wyoming and I believe it is a step in the right direction for making important changes in workplace safety in our state.”

CORRECTION: This story was corrected at 4:45 p.m. Nov. 14, 2013, regarding the number of workplace fatalities in Wyoming in 2012.


2012 Workforce Epidemiology Report on Occupational Fatalities and Non Fatal Injuries (PDF)

2012 Workforce Epidemiology Report on Occupational Fatalities and Non Fatal Injuries (Text)
— Dustin Bleizeffer is WyoFile editor-in-chief. You can reach him at (307) 267-3327 or email dustin@wyofile.com. Follow Dustin on Twitter at @DBleizeffer

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Dustin Bleizeffer

Dustin Bleizeffer is a Report for America Corps member covering energy and climate at WyoFile. He has worked as a coal miner, an oilfield mechanic, and for 22 years as a statewide reporter and editor primarily...

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