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Wyoming Looks to Change Workplace Safety Culture Trends

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Apparently, when safety groups in a state known for being one of the worst in terms of employee safety requests stronger workplace safety regulations, it creates a bit of a stir.

Two leading safety groups in the State of Wyoming have called upon the state to implement and enforce stronger safety laws. The state has been either worst or second-worst in death-on-the-job statistics in eight of the past nine years.

In a recent press release, the Wyoming AFL-CIO, along with the Spence Association for Employee Rights (SAFER) and the Wyoming Trial Lawyers Association, called upon the state’s higher powers to “make sweeping legislative, agency, policy, and cultural changes to ensure the safety of its workers.”

“Eight years of being worse or second-worst in death-on-the-job is proof that there’s a problem in Wyoming that needs to be remedied,” says AFL-CIO Executive Secretary Kim Floyd.

One of the key issues addressed in the press release is the empowerment of OSHA in Wyoming, which experts believe will effect change in the culture of workplace safety throughout the state.

Specifically, the organizations involved requested that OSHA hire more inspectors and increase the number of both scheduled and surprise inspections to be conducted in Wyoming. Also, the release called for more serious fines to companies who violate safety laws.

“That Wyoming lacks a strong culture of safety should be obvious to anybody familiar with our state’s abhorrent workplace safety record,” says lead attorney for SAFER, Mark Aronowitz. “What we urgently need is a renewed commitment to safety with on-the-ground changes, from the highest levels of our state government down to individual work sites.”

Interestingly enough, Wyoming’s mining industry has a significantly superior track record for employee safety than other hazardous industries in the state. The issued release also called for an investigation to determine the factors leading to this success.

“One of the changes [we need to make] is to identify trends, failures, and necessary improvements in a timely manner,” said Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead’s director of communications, Renny MacKay. “This can only be done with better access to date. There is a new focus on safety and Governor Mead is committed to helping Wyoming workers return home unharmed every evening.”

What do you think is the best way for Wyoming officials to begin effecting a change in workplace safety culture state-wide? Let us know in the comment box below.

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