Every year, more than 5,000 workers are killed on the job, about 14 per day, and more than 3.6 million suffer a serious job-related injury or illness. Many workers face unnecessary workplace hazards because their employer didn’t implement a safety and health management system. These injuries or illnesses don’t just hurt workers and their families, they can hurt business operations as well.
That’s why we are collaborating with businesses and organizations nationwide for our annual Safe + Sound Week, Aug. 15-21, to recognize the value of workplace safety and health programs and share ideas on how to keep our nation’s workers safe.
Safe + Sound Week is a year-round effort where employers integrate and improve their safety and health management systems. The week provides an opportunity to highlight these efforts and engage with more businesses that want to improve worker safety and health and discuss the importance of identifying and managing workplace hazards before they cause injury or illness to improve sustainability. These programs help organizations:
Prevent workplace injuries and illnesses.
Improve compliance with laws and regulations.
Reduce costs, including workers’ compensation premiums, time away from work, expenses for hiring and training replacement workers, and loss or damage to material, machinery, and property.
Enhance social responsibility.
Increase productivity and boost overall business operations.
Through this campaign, our goal is for workplaces to develop best practices to identify and fix hazards and apply worker involvement systems and implement a safety and health system, so that workers go home unharmed to their families at the end of the day. Last year, we had over 5,300 participants. Businesses from all 50 states, five territories and 75 countries participated.
For example, EW Howell Construction Group in New York participated in Safe + Sound Week last summer by conducting stand-downs discussing fall protection, silica dust awareness and COVID-19. The Regional Hispanic Contractors Association in Dallas – a Susan Harwood grant recipient – also held a virtual and in-person fall protection event offered in English and Spanish as part of the annual observance and highlighted the impact of its successes.
Organizations of all sizes in any industry looking for an opportunity to show their commitment to keeping the workplace safe for workers, customers and their community should join us!
Doug Parker is the assistant secretary of the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Follow OSHA on Twitter at @OSHA_DOL.