Montana News

May 8, 2014 5:26 PM by Dennis Bragg - KPAX News

ND tops list of deadly states for workers; MT still high on charts

North Dakota is at the top of a new list as the most dangerous place to work in the U.S. But Montana isn't far behind, ranking #4 according to a report on work place safety released by the AFL-CIOon Thursday.

The report entitled "Death on the Job, the Toll of Neglect" analyzes federal job injury reports focusing on fatal workplace accidents. And although an overall improvement in the number of fatal accidents since the Occupational Health and Safety Act, or OSHA, went into effect 40-years ago, the union says some stats are bucking the trend.

The report finds North Dakota's fatality rate is 18-deaths-per-100,000 workers, some five times higher than the national average based on 2012 statistics. And that's more than twice as high as 2007, just before the expansion of the state's oil and gas industry operations in the Bakken oil fields.

The report's authors say more attention needs to be paid to oil field safety, echoing what federal officials said last year. The union says the problems are likely caused by inexperienced workers and a lack of training.

But North Dakota isn't alone as a state where industrial and outside jobs pose a risk. Wyoming places second on the list of workplace deaths, followed by Alaska, Montana and West Virginia. In Montana, the death rate is just over 7-for-every 100,000 jobs.

Some 34 workers died on the job in Montana in 2012 according to the report.

The report also found shortfalls in the numbers of OSHA inspectors available to check workplace safety. In Montana alone, the AFL-CIO says it would take 135 years for OSHA to inspect every workplace at least once.

North Dakota was one of several states that saw a jump in the worker death rate. New Hampshire went up 83%.


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