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Mission & History

Everyone has the right to work in a safe and healthy place of employment - and to return home uninjured at the end of each workday. Yet on average, 14 people are killed on the job in the United States daily. California averages more than one job-related fatality every day. These figures don’t consider the thousands of people who are maimed or seriously injured each year, or the thousands who die or are disabled by occupational disease. 

Worksafe is a California-based organization dedicated to promoting and protecting the basic right of all people to a safe and healthy workplace. We engage in campaigns in coalition with worker organizations and activist networks to eliminate toxic chemicals and other hazards from the workplace. We advocate for protective worker health and safety laws and effective remedies for people who are injured on the job or suffer work-related illness, and we watchdog government agencies to ensure they enforce these laws.

In addition to advocacy and policy work, we are a support center for California legal aid organizations whose clients encounter workplace health or safety issues, workplace injuries, or retaliation for reporting unsafe work. We provide legal training, technical assistance, and advocacy support to legal aid programs who serve low-wage and immigrant workers, improving access to justice for workers who are most vulnerable to having their rights violated.

Worksafe History

Worksafe began in the late 1970s when a group of labor, community, and occupational health educators and activists came together to advocate for safety and health for California’s workers. The organization has roots in two past groups, BACOSH (Bay Area Committee on Occupational Safety and Health) and SCCOSH (Santa Clara Center on Occupational Safety and Health).

These two organizations became CalCOSH in 2004, and the name of the organization was changed to Worksafe in 2006.

Worksafe and its predecessor organizations have a long track record of improving workplace health and safety in California. From the start we have helped to train and empower thousands of at-risk workers. Since the early 2000s, we have provided support services to legal aid organizations across California so that they are better able to deliver occupational health and safety - along with workers' compensation advice and representation - to their low-wage worker clients.