On-the-job injuries can cause inconvenience and financial and physical stressors, but for the most dangerous occupations, they can create a serious upheaval and alter a worker’s life. When a worker suffers a fatal injury, the impacts are catastrophic for family members and loved ones.
California’s Department of Industrial Relations reported 448,300 work-related injuries in 2020. In 2019, 451 workers died after an on-the-job accident. Not all jobs are equally dangerous, and not all people are equally at risk.
What are the most dangerous jobs?
California law requires employers from most industries to have workers’ compensation insurance, so claims can arise from any sector. However, jobs with the highest injury rates resulting in missed work, work restrictions or job transfers are concentrated in a few industries. The sectors that see more serious work injuries are:
- Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting
- Trade transportation and utilities
- Transportation and warehousing
Transportation incidents are the leading work-related cause of fatal injuries, followed by slip-and-falls, harmful substance exposure, and contact with objects or equipment. The agricultural industry has the highest fatality rate, followed by transportation, utilities, and construction.
What demographics are most at risk?
Men are at a higher risk for fatal and nonfatal injuries. More workers between the ages of 45 to 64 die from their injuries than any other age group. Hispanic and Latino workers are more at risk of experiencing a fatal injury than other ethnicities.
Workers’ compensation insurance is supposed to pay medical expenses, disability benefits and job displacement benefits for those who sustain on-the-job injuries and death benefits to family members when workers die from their injuries. However, those who file claims often need to be persistent and assertive to receive their full benefits.