Are California workplaces becoming safer? Recent workplace fatality statistics point to some positive improvements.
Last year the number of workers killed on the job in California was the lowest since 1992.
California worker deaths in 1992 totaled 644 in a labor force of 15,307,000.
And in 1999 the total number of job-related fatalities was 591 in the state''s labor force of 16,585,000.
Total workplace fatalities declined by 53 or 8.2 percent, while the total workforce 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, accounted for 18.8 percent of the total.
- Contact with objects and equipment followed with 14.4 percent, falls were 12 percent, exposure to harmful substances or environments 6.9 percent, and fires and explosions accounted 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 and 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 occupations were operators, fabricators and laborers at 32.7 percent, followed by precision production, craft and repair at 15.9 percent. Farming, forestry and fishing occupations accounted for 14.6 percent.
by Virginia Sutcliffe