CASPER (WNE) — Wyoming has one of the worst rates of workplace-related deaths in the country, with the number of fatalities over three times the national average. New data published on occupational fatalities by the state’s Department of Workforce Services shows the troubling trend has continued to persist.
The number of fatalities inched up last year. In 2019, 32 workers died while on the job, an increase of one death compared to 2018. The majority of deaths, 65%, were a result of transportation incidents, including “highway crashes, pedestrian vehicular incidents, aircraft incidents and water vehicle incidents.” The most deaths happened in the trade, transportation and utilities sector.
In the period between 2003 and 2019, transportation incidents accounted for well over half of all deaths at work across all industries in Wyoming.
“An observation that I saw in this federal report today was that I think this is the third year in a row that the percentage attributed to transportation incidents has risen from the prior year,” Meredith Towle, the state occupational epidemiologist said.
About one-quarter of the workplace deaths in 2019 happened in the natural resources and mining sector.
Between 1992 and 2019, the state had an average of 33 workplace deaths.
The Research and Planning Division of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services analyzed the federal data through its Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Program. The effort is undertaken by both the state agency and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.