The California Department
of Industrial Relations at 75

When the California Department of Industrial Relations was formed in 1927, the minimum wage covered only women and children, a worker’s chances of suffering a workplace fatality were 10 times greater than today, compulsory workers’ compensation was just enacted and Sunday was the weekend.

Times have changed. Nonetheless, the mission of the California Department of Industrial Relations has remained remarkably consistent since 1927: to promote, protect and improve the health, safety and economic well being of wage earners in California, to improve their working conditions and to advance their opportunities for profitable employment.

This site offers the stories about how the California Department of Industrial Relations remains true to its mission, whether through Cal/OSHA’s rapid response team, available 24 hours per day to investigate workplace fatalities or by the deputy labor commissioners, industrial hygienists and safety engineers who inspect workplaces in the construction, garment and agriculture industries, or through collaboration with worker advocates, or by assisting employers committed to developing model safety and health programs.