The findings from 2015 are in, and the news for California is unfortunate. In 2015, the state saw a double digit increase in workplace fatalities (up 13% over the previous year). Because California has a large population, the total number of workers who lost their lives was high compared to smaller states. This past year, 388 California workers perished. But the state still commands a lower than average fatality rate per 100,000 workers, standing at 2.2 compared to the national average of 3.4.

Leading Causes and Preventive Measures

Unsurprisingly, transportation led the way in fatalities, with an increase of more than 25% over 2014. Slip/trip and fall accidents were down in most sectors but saw a sharp spike in the construction sector, leading to an overall rise of 7%. In fact, December saw three separate fall-related deaths with employees falling through skylights, from trees, and from ladders. Contact with objects/equipment and harmful exposure were less common causes of fatalities.

Remedies to reduce these accidents would include:

  • Driver safety training
  • Consistent maintenance of equipment
  • Better identification of hazards
  • Training for workers to keep clear of moving equipment
  • Proper use of LOTO for heavy machinery
  • Keeping work areas free of trip and slip hazards
  • Use of fall protection including engineering controls and PPE
  • Close adherence to confined space safety protocols
  • Use of appropriate ventilation and respiratory protection in hazardous atmospheres

Violence Claims Even More Workers

Tragically, many deaths at work were not accidental. Workplace violence in California took as many lives as slips, trips and falls combined, highlighting the importance of emotional and mental wellbeing as factors in workplace safety. There were 22 fatalities linked to workplace violence in the government sector, much higher than in any other sector. Since agency jobs often require interaction with the public in highly stressful circumstances, it is worrying but not necessarily surprising. Modern workplace safety training is not complete without acknowledging this problem and finding ways to reduce these incidents.

For more information on how to update any aspect of your workplace safety program, contact DKF today for a consultation.