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Wyoming Task Force Calls for Tougher OSHA Penalties–Enzi Disagrees

No, you didn’t read that headline wrong. Wyoming, a state not exactly known for advocacy of strong government intervention in business, is getting religion on worker safety. Its Worker Fatality Prevention Task Force recently recommended higher OSHA fines to create a stronger deterrent to unsafe conditions in the workplace. The task force formed after a spate of fatalities left Wyoming with the nation’s highest worker fatality rate, over four times the national average.  
Fortunately for the state’s workers, they have a man in Washington perfectly positioned to ensure that OSHA has the teeth needed to provide an effective deterrent–Senator Mike Enzi. As ranking minority member of  the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Enzi could make a great contribution to the safety of his state’s workers by supporting the Protecting America’s Workers Act, being considered by his committee. But no, the Billings Gazette reports, he has no intention of doing so.  

The fact that even representatives from the state’s oil and gas industry are behind the recommendation for tougher OSHA penalties appears to carry no weight with the Senior Senator from the state with the nation’s worst safety record.  â€œYes, we can increase the fine level. That’s the recommendation…the subcommittee supports increased OSHA fines and penalties,” said Paul Ulrich of EnCana Oil and Gas USA.

Wyoming’s workers would do well to remember, come election time, who stood in the way of stronger enforcement of safety laws to prevent more deaths on the job.