Worker’s Memorial Day to Honor California’s Workers Who Died on the Job

Oakland— The Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) and its Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) commemorate Workers’ Memorial Day 2019 and honor California’s workers who lost their lives on the job.

This international day of remembrance is held annually on April 28, the date Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, which ensures all workers the right to a safe and healthful workplace.

A total of 376 Californians lost their lives on the job in 2017, nearly half (46%) of them were Latino. The causes of death range from preventable accidents to workplace violence. These tragedies affect communities both large and small throughout the state.

Cal/OSHA was the first in the nation to adopt a statewide Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) standard in 1991 and also the first to adopt an emergency heat illness prevention regulation in 2005.

The emergency regulation became law in 2006 and was amended in 2010 to add high-heat procedures to protect outdoor workers in industries including agriculture, construction, landscaping and oil and gas extraction.

The heat illness prevention regulation was further amended in 2015 to increase worker access to water, lower the temperature trigger for shade and expand training for outdoor workers to recognize and address the signs and symptoms of heat illness.

Additionally, workers across the state are protected by permissible exposure limits that go beyond the corresponding federal minimums and cover a wider variety of chemicals.