Each year, California honors workers who succumbed to injuries suffered in work-related incidents. Workers’ Memorial Day on April 28 was the day this year on which the state’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, along with the Department of Industrial Relations, commemorated deceased workers. April 28, 1970 was actually the date on which the Occupational Safety and Health Act was passed by the U.S. Congress, which mandates that workers have the right to be protected from workplace injuries.
Reportedly, the rate of fatalities among workers in California has not fluctuated significantly from year to year since 2008. Although 422 workers died in 2018, safety authorities note that the fatality rate in California remains lower than the rate in other states. The first state to adopt an Injury and Illness Prevention Program was California.
This program sets a standard for employers in general industry statewide to identify and prevent workplace hazards. It also includes regulations to ensure all workers receive the necessary safety training. Workers must be informed about potential hazards they might encounter, and learn how to recognize dangerous conditions, and the steps to take to mitigate hazards.
Surviving family members of workers who suffer fatal workplace injuries, or die as the result of occupational illnesses, are typically eligible for survivors’ benefits through the California workers’ compensation insurance program. This is a no-fault system that covers the costs of end-of-life arrangements along with a financial package for covered dependents to replace lost wages. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can be a valuable source of support and guidance through the complicated benefits claims process.