Safety Stand Down event takes place in Cheyenne

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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (KGWN) -- Wyoming typically has the highest or second highest workplace fatalities across the country according to the State Occupational Epidemiologist. In Wyoming, and across the nation, she said workplace falls are the leading cause of death among construction workers.

Meredith Towle, State Occupational Epidemiologist, said, “It’s really important that we all are able to go home at the end of the day as safe and healthy and well as we were when we started the day.”

One employer said he believes that the sparse population and the higher volumes of workers in quote unquote dangerous jobs skews the numbers a bit when talking about workplace deaths in Wyoming.

Dennis Humphrey, Owner of Capitol Roofing and President of the Cheyenne Roofing Alliance said “I love the Wyoming spirit. I love people who’ve got some guts and some chew spot to go out there and do the type of work that we do. But anytime you have people getting hurt or killed, it’s certainly too many.”

Humphrey said that there is a balance to find as an owner because doing things safely can, sometimes slow down production.

Dennis Humphrey, Owner of Capitol Roofing and President of the Cheyenne Roofing Alliance said, “Naturally as business owners we want to get production and efficient production, but we are also wise enough to know that if we can’t do it safely, then none of it matters.”

The Safety Manager for Haselden Construction said that changing the culture around safety begins with management. Clayton Gaunt, Safety Manager for Haselden Construction said, “Leadership of safety starts at the top leadership and trickles it’s way down to our employees. Top leadership has to show a true belief that a change is needed and that it can be accomplished.” That is what the 2019 Safety Stand Down event is trying to accomplish. Amy Thomas, the Executive Director for the Wyoming Montana Safety Council, said, “These folks are actually taking a break from their regular everyday jobs they’re here getting information about fall training and information that is going to help them each day on their job to be able to go home safely to their loved ones.” Thomas also said, “We absolutely love that employers are acknowledging the need to invest in their employees and giving some safety training is going to be a huge return for them in their business.”

Clayton Gaunt, Safety Manager for Haselden Construction said, “It brings everyone together that’s involved in safety into one place and we can have those open discussions about how to make that a real culture change that’s needed in Wyoming.”