California has some of the highest rates of workplace injuries and fatalities in the country, coming in at third nationally just behind Maine and Indiana.
Each year, an estimated 500 workers die as the direct result of workplace injury, with an additional 6,500 passing away from work-related illnesses. In 2012 alone, tens of thousands of workers reported being injured on the job in the state. With rates of injury this high, many are calling for improved worker protections throughout California.
A part of the problem is the fact that California serves as the home to some of the most dangerous industries in the country. Jobs involving amusement parks, livestock, healthcare, beverage shipping and manufacturing, auto manufacturing and transportation have some of the highest rates of severe injury in the United States. We live in a very large state, where every one of these industries is strongly represented. These industries hold a great deal of political clout within the state and are often quite effective at influencing any legislative efforts to increase regulation, particularly when it comes to workplace safety.
Another major contributor to California’s problem is the general lack of enforcement of existing workplace regulations. There is little oversight to ensure employers are taking the proper measures to keep their workers safe. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has only a limited presence throughout California and lacks appropriate staff levels to provide effective oversight.
Worker injury is an issue that affects everyone in the state. Worker injury in 2012 cost California taxpayers approximately $28.73 billion, which significantly exceeded the entire state budget. By implementing better safety standards, the state could save more money down the road.
If you’ve been injured on the job, speak with a Los Angeles workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible.