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California Workplaces Report Fewer Fatalities in '99

August 25, 2000|NANCY CLEELAND

Workplaces in California were less hazardous last year than in 1998, according to statistics released Thursday.

The Department of Industrial Relations found that on-the-job fatalities dropped from 644 to 591, even as the state's work force grew by more than 1 million to 16.6 million.

The improvement appeared to be linked to an overall decrease in violent crime, however, rather than better employment practices or tougher enforcement by the state. The most significant drop was in retail trade, including liquor stores and gas stations, while the number of fatal accidents in agriculture and manufacturing increased slightly and construction was virtually unchanged.

Construction, transportation, agriculture and services each accounted for about 15% of the state's workplace fatalities.

The most hazardous occupation group appeared to be that of machine operators, fabricators and laborers, who made up about one-third of those killed on the job last year.

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