IR #2005-35
Friday August 29, 2005

Dean Fryer
Renée Bacchini

California continues to cultivate a safer workforce
Division of Labor Statistics and Research
shows fatalities declining as employment numbers grow

SAN FRANCISCO - Data released by the state Division of Labor Statistics and Research shows the number of workplace fatalities continued to decline in California in 2004 while employment numbers rose. Last year, 416 of California's 17,552,000 workers were fatally injured on the job, down from 456 ofCalifornia's 16,283,000 workers killed in 2003.

"We continue to strive to reduce the number of fatalities each year," said John Rea, acting director of the Department of Industrial Relations, the state agency that oversees California's fatality data collection and occupational safety and health programs. "The loss of one life is one too many, but this year 40 fewer workers died on the job."

The number of workplace fatalities in California has declined steadily since 1995. Last year marked the third consecutive year in which fatalities have been below 500.

"Cal/OSHA specifically targets the state's problem industries with intensive enforcement and consultative assistance that help employers provide safer and healthier workplaces. Our aggressive efforts to protect our Californian workers are paying off," said Rea.

Among the top causes of fatalities in 2004 were:

Of the workers killed on the job last year, 94% were men. The age group that sustained a largest number of fatalities ranged between 35-44yrs.

The national census of fatal workplace injuries and illnesses identifies, verifies and profiles workplaces of all employees in the private sector, as well as individuals who are self-employed, civilian and military government workers. Census sources include Cal/OSHA and federal OSHA reports, law enforcement data, workers' compensation claims, coroners' reports and news reports.

In 2002 the standard classification system (SIC) for identifying worker occupations was used, but in 2003 the North American industry classification system (NAICS) was used, precluding an industry by industry comparison for those years.

The complete DLSR report will be posted on the Internet at