Injured Workers Demand Justice in Demonstration at Government Building in Northern California

According to a report from IndyBay, a group of injured workers gathered outside of the California State Building in Oakland on Workers Memorial Day 2024 to advocate for safer, fairer conditions. Among other things, they argued that more resources are needed to ensure workplace safety standards are met in our state. In this article, our Fresno workers’ compensation attorney discusses the demonstration and highlights the continued problem of workplace safety in California.

Workers Memorial Day Honors Those Who Lost Their Lives and Suffered on the Job

Workers Memorial Day is a day dedicated to remembering and honoring those who have died, been injured, or become seriously ill due to workplace hazards and incidents. It serves as a day of action for promoting safety and health in the workplace. It is recognized on April 28th each year.

For reference, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that 5,486 people were killed and injured or made ill on the job in 2022 alone. In 2022, 504 people lost their lives on the job in California. That was a nearly ten percent increase when compared to the previous year.

Injured Workers Rally for Improved Safety on Workers Memorial Day

On Workers Memorial Day 2024, injured workers and their supporters rallied in front of the California State Building in Oakland. Notably, that state government office houses both Cal/OSHA and offices for the Division of WorkersCompensation (DWC). Workers spoke passionately about the need for enhanced safety measures and improved protections in the workplace. They highlighted the ongoing risks workers face and emphasized the urgent need for reforms.

Injured Workers Put Focus on Serious Understaffing of Safety Officials

As part of their rally for justice, the injured workers aimed to draw attention to the serious problem of the understaffing of workplace safety officials in our state. There are around 18 million people employed in California. Yet, Cal/OSHA has only 200 inspectors. In other words, there is approximately 1 Cal/OSHA inspector for every 90,000 employees. As of April 2024, there is a staggering 38% vacancy rate among compliance health and safety officers (CSHOs). Some areas have even higher vacancy rates. It is 50% in Bakersfield. With such a dramatic shortfall in staffing, there are serious questions being raised about Cal/OSHA’s ability to promote and enforce workplace safety in our state. For reference, California’s safety inspector per worker ratio is far worse than the neighboring states of Oregon and Washington.

Contact Our California Workers’ Comp Lawyer for Help

All workers deserve safe conditions. Unfortunately, work injuries and work illnesses remain a serious issue. Joseph C. Yrulegui is a workers’ comp attorney who is driven to protect the rights and interests of the people who need help the most. If you or your loved one was hurt on the job, please contact us today for a confidential consultation. We advocate for worker rights in Fresno.