Report: Lack of Workplace Safety Culture in Wyoming

By MEAD GRUVER | January 5, 2012

The state’s occupational 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 said 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.

Ryan’s report includes recommendations for better monitoring and analysis of occupational data and supporting industry efforts to develop, monitor and enforce safety standards and practices.

Gov. Matt Mead said he will implement the recommendations and continue to focus on better methods to improve safety for workers across the state.

“I believe that we must find ways to get workers in Wyoming home safely at the end of the day,” Mead said. “These recommendations are a first step on the path to making every workplace safer. They do not provide a solution but show that some systemic changes need to be made. They also indicate we still have work to do to further evaluate and make progress in workplace safety.”

The state occupational epidemiologist position was created over a year ago to produce recommendations. After completing the report, Ryan has moved on to a position in the private sector.

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