CASPER, Wyo. — Officials in Wyoming are trying to decide whether incentives to fix problems or punishing fines will help reduce job-related fatalities.
Information on the number of people killed on the job is not available for last year, but a state report determined that 34 people died on the job in 2014.
Federal regulators are cracking down on companies with poor safety records, and they are forcing states to comply.
Mary Jane Collins, who lost her grandson in a 2012 construction accident, is pushing state lawmakers to do more to prevent job-related fatalities.
Regulators fined the company that employed her grandson, but the company negotiated the penalties to half of what the Wyoming Occupational Safety and Health Administration had proposed.
Last year Congress raised maximum fines 78 percent to adjust for inflation. Wyoming lawmakers adopted that increase earlier this year, but it won’t go into effect until February, the Casper Star-Tribune reported (http://tinyurl.com/zhqywmn).
Business groups have accepted the fine increase, but some doubt it will affect Wyoming’s safety record.
Josh Carnahan, president of the Wyoming Construction Coalition, said safety is the goal.
“We don’t like the fine increases,” he said. “They’ve been the same for 25 years. It’s a huge amount to pay, but we’re rather be paying it to our state OSHA folks and working with them and trying to improve workplace safety.”
Carnahan said the higher fines won’t help increase worker safety. The money from violations will go to Wyoming schools, not increased safety training, he said.
Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, http://www.trib.com