Ravell Call, Deseret News
The Utah Safety Council’s Erin Morris tries out an excavator simulator during a press conference in West Valley City on Monday, June 19, 2017, to kick off Utah Workplace Safety Week.
WEST VALLEY CITY — The rumble of heavy equipment filled the area Monday as workers demonstrated proper safety around cranes, backhoes and forklifts.
The demonstrations came at the start of Workplace Safety Week, an effort to promote safety and minimize the number of accidents throughout the state.
In Utah, 48 people died as a result of workplace injuries last year, and organizers hope the campaign for workplace safety will help reduce that number.
“One of the things that surprises me is that Utah is actually still above the national average for workplace injuries,” said Kathryn Clark, vice president of safety and health for WCF Insurance, and a partner of the campaign. “The whole idea is to get people involved in different safety activities to focus our attention back on how workplace injuries really affect people.”
Clark said that Utah sees 3.5 injuries per 100 workers, while the national average is about 3 per 100 workers. While the injury rate was starting to decrease, she said the fatality rate in Utah and across the nation has not changed.
According to Clark, the notable causes of death were along roadways and from falls. She said the high levels of roadway construction activity and the overall amount of agricultural labor are likely causes for Utah’s high injury rates.
The safety campaign began after Senate Minority Whip Karen Mayne, D-Salt Lake…