The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

June 20, 2011
Caltrans worker's death triggers statewide safety review

caltrans logo.gifA Caltrans worker was killed on the job in San Diego this morning, state officials announced just a few minutes ago. It's the third department employee's death in the line of duty in the last two months. Caltrans hasn't yet released the name of the victim pending notification of family.

In response, the department is ordering a statewide halt to all projects so that employees can review safety procedures. Caltrans also will use the time to plead for public caution in construction and maintenance zones. Officials haven't yet said when it will OK employees to resume work.

All three recent deaths happened in Caltrans District 11, which encompasses San Diego and Imperial counties.

On May 4, a trolley struck and killed 64-year-old Stephen Palmer Sr. in National City near San Diego. Then on June 7, Jaime Obeso , 53, was killed by an errant vehicle while he was working on Interstate 8 in Imperial County.

Caltrans roadwork jobs are among the most dangerous in state government. In the past 87 years, 178 Caltrans workers have died in the line of duty, most after being hit by inattentive or reckless drivers.


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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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