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California workplace deaths remain stable

There is good news and bad news on fatal occupational injuries in California. The state's Department of Industrial Relations reported that fatalities from workplace accidents did not rise but that these did not drop from 2016 through 2017.

DIR reported that 376 workers in the state died at work in 2017, which are the latest figures available. This was the exact number in 2016. Its data came from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries.

This was a slight drop from 388 fatalities in 2015. There were 344 workplace deaths in the state in 2014 and 396 in 2013.

Over 22 percent of all work-related deaths in the state involved trips, slips and falls and 88 percent of those accidents involved falling to a lower level. Twenty percent of workplace fatalities were attributed to assault and violence. In fact, there were 31 workplace homicides. Almost 37 percent of fatal injuries involved transportation while exposure to harmful substances and environments was blamed for eight percent of deaths at the workplace.

DIR is continuing to monitor Latino workplace deaths, which constituted 44 percent or 823 fatalities in California. It is continuing its safety outreach and education campaign with an emphasis on high-hazard work and monolingual Spanish-speaking workers. White, non-Hispanic workers constituted 42 percent of all worker deaths.

Across the United States, there was a decrease in workplace deaths from 2016 though 2017. The rate dropped from 3.6 to 3.5 per 100,000 workers. There were 5,147 American workers killed in 2017 which was a slight decrease from the 5,190 reported in 2016, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Victims of workplace injuries and their families should seek legal advice to determine whether there are grounds for a lawsuit or workers' compensation claim. An attorney can help assure that their rights are protected.

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