Business & Real Estate

Is it more dangerous to be a cop, a pilot or a logger? The 12 most deadly jobs in California

The 5 most deadly jobs in California

More than 350 California workers die from work-related injuries during a typical year. Here are the five jobs that had the highest annual fatality rates from workplace injuries from 2012 to 2016.
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More than 350 California workers die from work-related injuries during a typical year. Here are the five jobs that had the highest annual fatality rates from workplace injuries from 2012 to 2016.

More than 350 California workers die from work-related injuries during a typical year, but most of those deaths occur across a small number of occupations.

The most deadly job in California — and across the nation — is working as a logger. Fifteen California loggers died on the job between 2012 and 2016, according to the California Department of Industrial Relations. That translates to about 1 in 600 loggers. Cutting down trees and branches — to state the obvious — carries a risk that trees or branches will fall on you.

Other deadly jobs relate to transportation or construction. A higher number of heavy-truck drivers die on the job than workers in any other occupation. Construction laborers, roofers, painters and tree trimmers often die from falls.

California farmworkers die at a relatively high rate. California has some of the most stringent laws in the nation designed to protect farmworkers, but heat-related deaths still occur every year. Gov. Jerry Brown signed a new law to expand overtime for farmworkers in September 2016.

Police officers round out the list of most deadly jobs. Forty-three California police officers died in work-related incidents from 2012 to 2016, including many killed in car accidents. That contributes to the 11th-highest death rate from job injuries in the state.

We’ve ranked California’s most dangerous jobs based on annual fatality rates from 2012 to 2016. The calculations are based on data maintained by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the California Department of Industrial Relations.

Jobs with three or fewer fatalities in 2016 were excluded. That means rare jobs such as trapeze artist or professional rock climber are not in the data. These rankings are based on workplace injuries — they do not include workers who die from health issues like a heart attack at their desk.

CALIFORNIA’S MOST DEADLY JOBS

#1 Logging workers

Deaths on the job, 2012-16: 15

California workers: 1,810

Death rate per 100,000 workers: 165.7

Logger
. Eric Paul Zamora Fresno Bee file photo

#2 Aircraft pilots

Deaths on the job, 2012-16: 30

California workers: 12,890

Death rate per 100,000 workers: 46.5

Pilot1
. Deke Farrow jfarrow@modbee.com

#3 Truck driver

Deaths on the job, 2012-16: 295

California workers: 137,930

Death rate per 100,000 workers: 42.8

US_NEWS_WEA-CALIF-STORM_4_LA.jpg
Brian van der Brug Los Angeles Times

#4 Construction workers

Deaths on the job, 2012-16: 114

California workers: 96,480

Death rate per 100,000 workers: 23.6

IMG_recycleready_0221_4_9_1_DGD7SK8R_L372191728
. Craig Kohlruss ckohlruss@fresnobee.com

#5 Taxi Drivers

Deaths on the job, 2012-16: 20

California workers: 24,730

Death rate per 100,000 workers: 16.4

RP_HYATT_CAB_driver
. Randy Pench rpench@sacbee.com

#6 Welders

Deaths on the job, 2012-16: 20

California workers: 26,550

Death rate per 100,000 workers: 16.4

welder
. John Walker jwalker@fresnobee.com

#7 Grounds maintenance workers and tree trimmers

Deaths on the job, 2012-16: 86

California workers: 116,360

Death rate per 100,000 workers: 14.8

trees
. Brian Clark bclark@modbee.com

#8 Construction forepersons

Deaths on the job, 2012-16: 37

California workers: 51,570

Death rate per 100,000 workers: 14.3

20150513_HA_TOUR_ARENA00488.JPG
Hector Amezcua Sacramento Bee file photo

#9 Building painters

Deaths on the job, 2012-16: 23

California workers: 35,070

Death rate per 100,000 workers: 13.1

GettyImages-468120950.jpg
. Andy Dean Photography Getty

#10 Farmworkers

Deaths on the job, 2012-16: 116

California workers: 193,660

Death rate per 100,000 workers: 12.0

IMG_RB_Farm_Drought_16_2_1_PN520U22_L133625729
. Randall Benton rbenton@sacbee.com

#11 Police officers

Deaths on the job, 2012-16: 43

California workers: 73,000

Death rate per 100,000 workers: 11.8

IMG_officers_memorial_05_7_1_JL81JQ0F_L219137421.JPG
Craig Kohlruss Fresno Bee file photo

#12 Power line and telecommunications line installers

Deaths on the job, 2012-16: 10

California workers: 18,780

Death rate per 100,000 workers: 10.7

PG&E Rates
PG&E CARE offers a discount on energy bills for low-income California customers. David Middlecamp dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Phillip Reese is the Bee’s data specialist and teaches at Sacramento State: 916-321-1137, @PhillipHReese
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