12 Construction Workers Died on the Job in OK During 2011

TULSA, Oklahoma -

Each year the Oklahoma Department of Labor in cooperation with the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other government agencies, releases a fatal occupational injuries report showing the deadliest jobs in Oklahoma.

 

Preliminary numbers from the latest report, for 2011, show there were 77 work-related deaths in Oklahoma.

A vast majority, or 69 out of 77, were in the private sector.

The fifth deadliest job in the state is in the food service industry, including bars, restaurants, and caterers. There were 3 deaths in 2011.

Number four and three are tied, under the category of truck transportation. Seven truck drivers died last year; 6 in traffic-related incidents.

Manufacturing was number three with seven people losing their lives. It's one of the most dangerous jobs in the state. But some companies are working to change that, like T and L Foundry in Glenpool, run by third-generation family owner, Bill Covington.

"You know, the nature of that, it's a hot, dirty business that you know has a lot of dangers like that," said Bill Covington.

T and L makes aluminum vents and light pole stands that are shipped across the country. It's won the prestigious SHARP safety award two years in a row, the first foundry in the state to do that.

"Because we invested in safety and spent money on safety, it's paid great dividends. Our workers' comp this year could be reduced by as much as $100,000," said Bill Covington.

Coming in at number two on the dangerous jobs list in Oklahoma was construction.

Twelve workers in the construction field died on the job last year, about half from transportation incidents and the other half from falls, slips or trips.

Number one was in the oil and gas business.

Fourteen fatalities were recorded in drilling and support operations for oil and gas wells, in incidents ranging from transportation to contact with equipment.

"The number one problem is the awareness, that there are programs of safety that are free, that are voluntary and that work. And there's no downside to them," said Mark Costello, state Labor Commissioner.

Oklahoma Department of Labor commissioner Mark Costello says private companies can invite the department in, get free consultation on safe practices, and on top of that, the state Labor Department can't fine them.

"Safety isn't a ‘gotcha' moment from the feds or the Department of Labor," said Mark Costello. "We want them to go home in the same safe condition as they arrived at work. Once they realize that, it has manifest benefits throughout a company, not just to the bottom line."

In the Labor Department report there were other industries that had more than three deaths, like professional and technical services, but the causes were so broad and included so many different lines of work, we didn't include them.

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