This article was originally published in the 2015 Wyoming Workforce Annual Report.
From third quarter 2013 (2013Q3) to third quarter 2014 (2014Q3), the average injury rate in Wyoming was 11.5 injuries per 1,000 workers, and the rate of workers’ compensation claims continued its downward trend since 2004Q3 (see Figure 1). The highest rate of injury was 15.6 per 1,000 workers, which occurred in 2007Q1. In 2012Q4, the injury rate dropped below 11 injuries per 1,000 workers (10.5) for the first time in 10 years. Over the last decade, the rate was 13.0 injuries per 1,000 workers.
Table 1 shows the rate of injury by industry from 2004Q3 to 2014Q3. The manufacturing industry experienced the most injuries per 1,000 workers at 20.3 (a slight uptick from 19.9 published in the 2014 Wyoming Workforce Annual Report), while the financial activities sector had the lowest injury rate of 4.7 per 1,000 workers.
Figure 2 shows the injury rate for selected industries by year and quarter. In addition to having the highest injury rate, the manufacturing sector also experienced the most variation over the last decade, while financial activities experienced the least variation. Educational & health services, the largest sector in terms of average employment, demonstrated very little variation in injury rates over the past decade. While natural resources & mining still exhibited a relatively high rate of injury of 14.6 per 1,000 workers, rates in this industry have fallen the most of any industry over the past decade, with the rate dropping by approximately one injury per 1,000 workers per year on average.
Figure 3 displays the top five most frequently occurring injuries from 2004Q3 through 2014Q3. These five injuries accounted for nearly two-thirds of all injuries, with sprains (29.0%) and strains (5.8%) accounting for slightly over one-third of all injuries. The most common types of injury are not strongly affected by the age of the worker nor by the industry in which the injury occurred. The exceptions are that burns commonly occur in leisure & hospitality while injuries involving foreign bodies are common in the construction and manufacturing industries.
While not all factors that cause workplace accidents can be completely controlled, safety efforts by businesses and the Wyoming Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) appear to be reducing workplace injury rates.