SAN FRANCISCO --Last year the number of workers killed on the job in California was the lowest since 1992 when the Department of Industrial Relations' Division of Labor Statistics and Research (DLSR) published these findings in the first U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics nationwide census that compiled comprehensive data on work-related fatalities.
California worker deaths in 1992 had totaled 644 in a labor force of 15,307,000. And in 1999 the total number of job-related fatalities was 591 in California's labor force of 16,585,900. Total workplace fatalities declined by 53-or 8.2 percent-while the total work force increased by 1,278,900 or 8.4 percent.
Among the preliminary findings for 1999 fatalities by event or exposure were:
- Transportation accidents-such as collisions between vehicles, worker struck by vehicle or mobile equipment-260 or 44 percent of workplace fatalities.
- Assaults and violent acts-the second leading cause of work-related deaths-accounting for 18.8 percent of the total.
- Contact with objects and equipment following with 14.4 percent, falls 12 percent, exposure to harmful substances or environments 6.9 percent, and fires and explosions accounting for 2.9 percent.
Workplace fatalities in 1999 by industry sector were: construction 15.7 percent; transportation and public utility industries 15.6 percent; agriculture, forestry, fishing 15.6 percent; services 15.2 percent; government 13.4 percent; manufacturing 10.3 percent; retail trade 8.8 percent; wholesale trade 2.9 percent; finance, insurance and real estate 1.9 percent; mining 0.3 percent.
Leading the list of 1999 work-related fatalities by occupation were operators, fabricators and laborers at 32.7 percent-followed by precision production, craft and repair at 15.9 percent and farming, forestry and fishing occupations at 14.6 percent.
The national census of fatal occupational injuries 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.
The complete DLSR report is available on the Internet at http://www.dir.ca.gov/DLSR