© Copyright 2002 by the Wyoming Department of Employment, Research & Planning
Occupational Injuries and Illnesses: How Safe Are Wyoming's Workplaces?
by: Krista L. Gerth, Senior Statistician
"In 2000 there were 36 fatal occupational injuries in Wyoming, up from 32 in 1999 and 33 in 1998."
On January 1, 2002, Research & Planning (R&P)
assumed responsibility for two Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) programs that
collect data about work-related injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. The
collection process is now underway for the Survey of Occupational Injuries and
Illnesses (SOII) and the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI). Data for
these two programs are collected nationwide.
The SOII and CFOI programs were developed in response to the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act of 1970. In addition to establishing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the Act called for a system to provide statistical information on work-related deaths, injuries, and illnesses. In 1971, the responsibility for the statistical system was delegated to the BLS. The results of the studies may be used to gauge the effectiveness of efforts to promote safety in the workplace.
Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses
Many Wyoming companies are already familiar with the mandatory SOII survey, which will now be collected annually by R&P in cooperation with the BLS. Notification of the requirement to participate in the program during 2002 was mailed to approximately 2,400 Wyoming companies in late December 2001.
Companies are asked to keep a log of job-related injuries or illnesses during 2002. Companies that have maintained records for OSHA or participated in the survey in the past will notice that the forms and requirements for recording some injuries and illnesses have changed. Some of the changes are intended to reduce the burden on employers. Table 1 lists several of the differences between the old and new recordkeeping rules. Specific questions about recordkeeping requirements should be directed to the Wyoming Workers’ Safety/OSHA office.1
Companies selected to participate in the survey will submit their data to R&P in early 2003. Summary tabulations are expected in late 2003. Demographic and case characteristics data will be released in early 2004. All specific information, including company and employee names, injury detail, and other identifying characteristics will be kept confidential and will not be released to OSHA, BLS, or the public. Although the BLS has conducted this survey in Wyoming for many years, Wyoming's data were used only in national and regional estimates. Nationally, for example, the Manufacturing industry had the highest injury and illness incidence rate in 2000 (9.0 cases per 100 full-time workers), followed by Construction (8.3 cases per 100 full-time workers).2 With the release of the results of the 2002 survey, Wyoming-specific data will be available to help local employers, industries, and safety groups identify trends and areas where additional safety training may be beneficial.
Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries
The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) relies primarily on information found on death certificates, newspaper articles, and workers’ compensation reports. The purpose is to gather information about job-related fatalities (e.g., falls, transportation incidents) and illnesses that result in fatalities (e.g., asbestosis, some types of cancer). It includes any job-related death that occurs in Wyoming, even if the individual involved was not a resident of the state or working for a Wyoming company. Although the CFOI is not a survey, employers may be contacted by mail to gather additional information about a fatality. Like the SOII, all individually-identifiable information is kept confidential.
Fatal occupational injuries by industry for 1998-2000 are shown in Table 2. In 2000 there were 36 fatal occupational injuries in Wyoming, up from 32 in 1999 and 33 in 1998. Nine (25.0%) of the 36 fatalities in 2000 were in Mining; six (16.7%) were in Transportation, Communications, & Public Utilities (TCPU); five (13.9%) were in Services. Agriculture, Construction, and Government each had four (11.1%) deaths. Nationally, the highest number of fatalities in 2000 occurred in Construction (19.5%). Mining accounted for only 2.6 percent (compared to 25.0% in Wyoming). The difference is due in part to the fact that nationally, Mining employs 0.4 percent of workers covered by Unemployment Insurance (UI);3 in Wyoming, approximately eight percent of UI covered workers are employed in Mining.
As shown in Table 3, 47.2 percent of the Wyoming fatalities in 2000 were transportation incidents (e.g., collisions, jack-knifes or overturned vehicles, workers struck by vehicles). Although recent increases in Wyoming’s oil & gas industry have led to an increase in the number of workers in the trucking industry,4 the number of fatalities among trucking and warehousing employees declined from eight in 1998 to five in both 1999 and 2000. Contact with objects and equipment was the second leading cause of work-related deaths in Wyoming (19.4%). This follows the national trend; 43.5 percent of the 5,915 occupational fatalities reported nationally in 2000 were transportation incidents, while 17.0 percent were due to contact with objects and equipment. Assaults and violent acts, which accounted for 15.7 percent of national work-related deaths in 2000, accounted for only 8.3 percent (3 deaths) in Wyoming.5 Due to the small number of work-related fatalities in Wyoming and confidentiality constraints, additional levels of industry and incident detail are not available.6
Occupational fatalities resulting from the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 will be reported separately from other 2001 data in the fall of 2002.
1The phone number for the Wyoming Workers’ Safety/OSHA office is 307-777-7786. For more information, visit <http://www.osha.gov> and
2U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Summary News Release, 2000,
(December 18, 2001).
3U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Industry at a Glance: Mining" November 5, 2001, <http://www.bls.gov/iag/iag.mining.htm> (December 18, 2001).
4For more information about Wyoming's trucking industry, see Sara Saulcy's "An Overview of the Trucking Industry," Wyoming Labor Force Trends, August 2001, pp. 1-9, 12.
5U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries.
6For national data see <http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshcfoi1.htm>.
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