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Occupational Health branch

Occupational Health Watch: April 2022

Workers Memorial Day: A Time to Reflect and Protect

Today, the California Department of Public Health's Occupational Health Branch (OHB) will observe Workers Memorial Day to remember workers who died, were injured, or became ill at work. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the risks workers face on the job, and Workers Memorial Day provides an important opportunity to reflect and work together to prevent future injuries and deaths.

Since January 1, 2021, more than 20,000 COVID-19 outbreaks, associated with nearly 240,000 COVID-19 cases, have occurred in California. These outbreaks have most commonly occurred in workplaces such as schools, residential care facilities, childcare services, skilled nursing facilities, and correctional facilities. A recent Occupational Health Branch study highlights disparities in worker deaths from COVID-19, with higher rates among workers in manual labor and in-person service occupations. 

The most recent data show there were 463 fatal work injuries in California during 2020. Transportation incidents (122) were the leading cause of injury deaths, followed by falls, slips, and trips (99), violence (97), and exposure to harmful substances or environments (85). Construction worker on building frame

OHB continues to focus on workplace health and safety through investigation and research, education, and partnerships with industry and community organizations. The OHB website highlights ongoing important workplace issues and provides tools and resources for both workers and employers. The COVID-19 at Work webpage includes evolving materials and resources for preventing COVID-19 at the workplace.

This year, many commemorative events will be held both in person and virtually. Follow the OSHA Workers Memorial Day website and the AFL-CIO Workers Memorial Day website for more information. 


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