An annual report released by the Montana Department of Labor and Industry found that 2019 in workplaces was slightly more deadly than the previous year, with agriculture being the most dangerous industry.
The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries released last week said the state had 38 work-related fatal injuries last year, up 35.7% from the previous year, the Independent Record reported. It also said 16 of the deaths, or 42%, were on farms.
"I don't think it is at all surprising," said Austin Grazier, director of agricultural safety for the Montana Farm Bureau, which has 20,000 families. "The farming industry is inherently risky, but it's a great reminder for us to work on farm and farm safety and put safety at the forefront of all our operations."
The state reported that between 30 and 40 work-related deaths per year is on average in Montana. The lowest number of workplace deaths occurred in 2018, 2014 and 2013 with 28. The highest number occurred in 1992 with 65.
"The data clearly shows that too many workers are killed and faced with dangerous working conditions while on the job," said Montana AFL-CIO Executive Secretary Al Ekblad. "As a country, we have a moral obligation to provide regulations and inspections so that employees can safely return home to their families at the end of the day."
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on December 16 that 5,333 fatal work-related accidents were recorded in the country last year, an increase of 2% from 2018. It noted that this was the largest annual number since 2007, with 99 every year. minutes an employee died of a work-related injury during the year, officials said.
Laurence Hubbard, president and CEO of the Montana State Fund, said the number of workplace deaths is only 9% higher this year when looking at a 10-year average, but it's more than just the data.
"We're talking human lives, and it's tragic to needlessly lose so many lives from Montana every year," said Hubbard.
The Montana State Fund is the state's largest provider of occupational injuries to nearly 25,000 businesses and organizations.
The census is conducted by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and is aimed at increasing workplace safety.
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