An overview of the most dangerous jobs in California

While most jobs carry a small risk of injury, workers in some fields face significantly more danger than others. These types of injuries can vary, ranging from mild bruises or sprains to life-altering wounds.

In California specifically, which professions have the highest injury rates?

The deadliest jobs

According to a report by the Sacramento Bee, more than 350 Californians die from workplace injuries every year. But those fatalities are concentrated among some industries. The most dangerous when calculated by fatality rate was logging. From 2012-16 there were 165.7 deaths per 100,000 logging workers, making it by far the deadliest job in the state.

The rest of the 10 deadliest jobs are:

  • Aircraft pilots – 46.5 deaths per 100,000 workers
  • Truck drivers – 42.8
  • Construction workers – 23.6
  • Taxi drivers – 16.4
  • Welders – 16.4
  • Grounds maintenance and tree trimmers – 14.8
  • Construction forepersons – 14.3
  • Building painters – 13.1
  • Farmworkers – 12.0

Jobs with the most injuries and illnesses

Of course, many workers suffer non-fatal injuries, and the California Department of Industrial Relations tracks the number of injuries and illnesses that lead to days away from work. In its most recent report, the department found construction workers faced the highest rate of injury or illness. It was one of five industries with an injury and illness rate higher than the state average.

The resources and mining industry came in next, with leisure and hospitality third. The trade, transportation and utilities industry followed, with education and health services just behind it.

The most common type of injury, by far, was a sprain, strain or tear. That was followed by:

  • Soreness or pain
  • Cuts, lacerations or punctures
  • Bruises and contusions
  • Fractures
  • Multiple traumatic injury
  • Heat burns
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Tendonitis
  • Amputations
  • Chemical burns

Workers’ compensation should be there to protect employees that become injured due to their job, or compensate loved ones whose family member died as a result of their work. It does not always happen however.

It is easy for claims to hit snags with insurance companies, or for injured employees to get frustrated by the sometimes restrictive process. Some cases require legal action to try to ensure an injured worker gets what they are entitled to based on their situation.

Dangerous jobs are not going away. Those workers who put themselves at risk should feel they have some protection in the case of an accident.

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