Top 3 Most Dangerous Jobs in California According to OSHA

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a federal agency responsible for overseeing workplace safety and health standards. OSHA gathers and assesses data on occupational injuries and fatalities nationwide. According to the most recent report from OSHA and the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (CalOSHA), the following are the top three most hazardous jobs in California based on the fatal injury rate per 100,000 workers in 2020.

1. Drivers/Sales Workers/Truck Drivers

This category comprises individuals who operate vehicles for transporting goods or passengers and those involved in selling products or services along a route. In 2020, this occupation recorded the highest number of fatalities in California, with 70 deaths. Most of these fatalities resulted from transportation incidents, such as collisions, rollovers, or being struck by vehicles. Among this group, heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers accounted for 56 fatalities, making them the most perilous subcategory. Drivers encounter various hazards on the road, including traffic congestion, adverse weather conditions, fatigue, and mechanical issues.

2. Construction Laborers

Construction laborers undertake various tasks at construction sites, including digging, lifting, carrying, demolishing, or assembling materials. In 2020, this occupation ranked second in terms of fatalities in California, with 34 deaths. The majority of these fatalities were due to falls, slips, or trips, such as falling from roofs, scaffolds, or ladders. Construction laborers face multiple risks, such as falling objects, electrocution, explosions, or exposure to hazardous substances.

3. Grounds Maintenance Workers

Grounds maintenance workers are responsible for landscaping and groundskeeping in various properties like parks, gardens, cemeteries, or golf courses. In 2020, this occupation placed third in terms of fatalities in California, with 29 deaths. The primary cause of these fatalities was contact with objects and equipment, such as being struck by falling trees, branches, or power lines. Grounds maintenance workers also encounter dangers from exposure to extreme temperatures, pesticides, or venomous animals.


According to OSHA, these are the top three most dangerous jobs in California based on the fatal injury rate per 100,000 workers in 2020. While these occupations provide essential services to society, they also present significant threats to the safety and health of workers. OSHA and CalOSHA are committed to reducing the number of occupational injuries and fatalities through the enforcement of standards, provision of training, and conducting inspections. However, both workers and employers bear the responsibility of adhering to best practices and precautions to prevent accidents and injuries.

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