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Associated Press, Published August 20 2010

North Dakota second-deadliest place to work

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Wyoming no longer is the nation’s deadliest place to work, a dubious distinction that now belongs to Montana, with North Dakota coming in second.

North Dakota moved up from having the third-worst to second-worst workplace fatality rate, although the number of workplace deaths there dropped from 28 to 25 and North Dakota’s rate of deaths on the job declined slightly as well.

North Dakota Workforce Safety and Insurance, which is North Dakota’s workers’ compensation agency, provides workplace safety training, grants and other incentives to employers to try to reduce injuries and deaths in the workplace, said agency director Bryan Klipfel.

“I think that’s one of the reasons why our injury and fatality rates and so forth have kind of stayed fairly similar within the last couple of years,” Klipfel said.

He said job-related traffic deaths, particularly in western North Dakota’s booming oil fields, remain a problem.

The number of workers killed on the job in Montana increased from 40 in 2008 to 50 in 2009, according to figures released Thursday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That’s up 25 percent for a rate of one death per 19,500 people of all ages, more than three-and-a-half times the U.S. average of one per 70,739.

In 2008, Montana ranked fourth for workplace deaths per capita.

In Wyoming, the number of workplace deaths fell from 33 to 19, a decline of more than one-third that resulted mainly from a slowdown in the state’s gas industry.

Wyoming now ranks third for workplace deaths per capita.

Nationwide, the number of workplace deaths last year fell 17 percent to the lowest number since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking workplace fatalities in 1992.

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