Wyoming Looking for Solutions in Workplace Deaths

By: Kyle Markley Email
By: Kyle Markley Email

Cheyenne, WY (KGWN) - Workers Memorial Day is observed around the country every year on the last Monday in April.
Wyoming honored its fallen workers Monday at the State Capitol, but the state is also looking for answers to how these tragedies can be prevented.
35 bells rang out.
One for each worker lost in Wyoming in 2012.
It's the most work related deaths in Wyoming in the last five years.
Mothers, wives and fiancées of those that have passed were there to acknowledge their loved ones and urge the state of Wyoming and members of the legislature to increase workplace safety.
"To look at trends, not only in fatalities, but injuries. The work the Legislature is doing to put money aside for training for small employers to buy equipment to train their staff and also increasing the amount of OSHA consultation staff that we have," said Joan Evans, Director of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services.
There are too few OSHA employees to inspect all the workplaces in the state.
Wyoming is the second most deadly state when it comes to work related fatalities and many feel it's up to Wyoming’s legislators to bring about change.
"What we really need to look at is stricter OSHA fines. We need to hold these big employers, their feet to the fire when these fatalities and injuries are happening," said Representative Lee Filer, a democrat from House District 12 in Laramie County.
Legislation during this year’s budget session failed in an attempt to exhibit stiffer fines.
"A lot of folks don't believe that fines are the way to go as far as holding employers feet to the fire and accountable. They've got other ideas. The thing is we need to bring them all together and find a common ground and do what's right by the people of Wyoming," Filer said.
When it comes down to it, it's the workers and their families that are paying the ultimate price for companies ignoring safety laws.
"As a group of citizens of Wyoming we should not have to go to work and worry about coming home safe," said Filer.
Filer said he believes there’s a better chance to get legislation passed during next year’s general session which will last twice as long as this year’s budget session.


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