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Wyoming Lawmakers Support Fines For Workplace Fatalities

Associated Press

For the first time, Wyoming employers could face stiff fines if their workers die on the job.   

The state does not currently distinguish workplace fatalities from other kinds of safety violation, but under a bill endorsed by the Joint Health, Labor, and Social Services Committee large employers could be fined up to $250-thousand dollars and those who employ fewer than 250 employees could face fines up to 50-thousand dollars.

Senator Charles Scott says Wyoming’s workplace safety record is among the worst in the country and it’s time to send a message.

“I think what is does is say, look what’s really important is that we want to get a safety culture such that we don’t have the level of workplace deaths that we have.”

Scott had wanted to have a set fine for violators, but opponents of the bill say that it could cost jobs and put some employers out of business.  House Committee Chairwoman Elaine Harvey said that it should be up to OSHA to determine the facts and what type of fine is warranted.  She added that sometimes the employees, not the employers, are at fault. 

The bill will be debated by the full legislature in January.

Bob Beck retired from Wyoming Public Media after serving as News Director of Wyoming Public Radio for 34 years. During his time as News Director WPR has won over 100 national, regional and state news awards.
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