California Worker Fatalities up in 2015, Report Shows

December 16, 2016

There were more workplace fatalities in California in 2015 compared with the prior year, but worker deaths are below the average rate of fatalities prior to the recession, according to a California Department of Industrial Relations issued today.

The report shows that 388 Californians died on the job in 2015, the latest numbers available.

That’s up from 344 in 2014. The number was 396 in 2013 and 375 in 2012. The data comes from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, which is conducted annually in conjunction with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

California last year experienced 13 multi-fatality incidents, accounting for 48 workplace deaths. These events include the shootings of public employees attending a holiday event in San Bernardino, four separate farm vehicle collisions, four different helicopter or small airplane crashes (including two separate military helicopter incidents), and three multi-victim workplace homicides. This contrasts with six separate multi-fatality incidents that occurred in 2014 resulting in 17 fatalities.

california-worker-fatalities-for-2015A DIR review of the past 10 years indicates that workplace fatalities remain below the average rate of fatalities prior to 2008, when the last recession began.

DIR Director Christine Baker said the department has an eye on workplace violence.

“In January, Cal/OSHA will convene an advisory committee to address workplace violence,” she said in a statement.

Other DIR findings include:

  • One-in-five of all California workplace deaths identified in 2015 were attributed to violence and other injuries by persons or animals. The incidence of workplace homicides in 2015 accounts for 12 percent of all workplace deaths in the state.
  • More than one-third of California workplace deaths identified in 2015 occurred in transportation incidents.
  • Nearly one-in-five of workplace deaths identified in the state in 2015 were attributed to trips, slips and falls; with more than two-thirds of those deaths involving falls to a lower level.
  • 46 percent of workplace fatalities in 2015 were Latinos. That fatality rate has fluctuated over the past 10 years between 37 percent and 49 percent.

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