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Latest figures show steep drop in Wyoming on-the-job deaths between 2012 and 2013


CASPER, Wyoming — The number of workers who died in accidents on the job in Wyoming fell sharply last year compared to the year before, according to newly released figures.

Wyoming long has been one of the deadliest states for workers, largely because of the state's many jobs in oil and gas production and agriculture. Jobs in those fields tend to be more dangerous than office and retail work.

Last year, 21 people died in workplace accidents in Wyoming, down from 31 in 2012, according to a state Department of Workforce Services report released Tuesday.

Declines in on-the-job traffic fatalities and agriculture accidents accounted for the difference.

Last year, seven workers died in transportation accidents in Wyoming, down from 16 the year before. Deaths in agriculture declined from five in 2012 to three in 2013, the Casper Star-Tribune reports ( ).

Department Director Joan Evans said she's pleased with efforts made by Wyoming's oil and gas industry and other job sectors to improve safety.

"To continue to make progress, a joint effort by all employers and their employees is needed to change Wyoming's safety culture," Evans said.

The state's findings likely will differ from those released later this week by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The federal government recorded 35 fatalities in Wyoming during 2012, compared to the 31 reported by the state that year.

"We're counting on a disparity just because the BLS has access to different documents in other states," department spokeswoman Hayley Douglass said.

Wyoming needs sustained, year-after-year reductions in workplace fatalities, State Occupational Epidemiologist C. Mack Sewell said.

"It's not just having a policy. It's having a whole change in the way work is done. It takes a buy-in on the part of senior management and employees," he said.

Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune,

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