The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded over 2.6 million nonfatal workplace injuries or illnesses in the private sector during 2021. Over 5,100 fatal workplace injuries occurred across all sectors, up by nearly 9% from 2020. In California, over 460 fatal workplace injuries were recorded in 2021. Most of these fatal injuries occurred in industries, such as agriculture, fishing and hunting, transportation and utilities, and construction. Most fatal injuries involved wage or salary employees, the self-employed accounted for less than 20% of fatal workplace injuries.
Workplace accidents in California
Nearly one in three fatal work injuries in California were attributed to transportation incidents. Close to one in four fatal injuries were from exposure to harmful substances or environments. Women were involved in less than 10% of the fatal occupational injuries recorded in California during 2021. Violence, or injuries caused by people or animals, was the next most common event, accounting for more than 85 fatal workplace injuries. Over 75 of the fatal injury reports in 2021 qualified as falls, slips and trips.
Demographics of workplace injuries
Nearly 60% of the fatal workplace injuries involved workers who were 45 or older. Less than 7% of the fatal work injuries involved workers aged 20 to 24 and fewer than 18% involved employees aged 25 to 34. Around 50% of the fatal workplace injuries reported in California involved employees who identified as Hispanic or Latino. Non-Hispanic whites accounted for around 35% and African Americans accounted for close to 7% of the fatal occupational injuries in 2021. Over a dozen fatal workplace accidents in 2021 involved management staff.
More than 85% of the fatal occupational injuries in California involved employees in the private sector. Most of the fatal injuries involved those working in natural resources, construction and maintenance. Other California occupations reporting high numbers of nonfatal injuries and illnesses include those in psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals, sawmills and wood preservation work, millwork, and manufacturing.