In 2021, 5,190 workers died on the job, and more than 2.6 million suffered from a serious job-related injury or illness. This doesn’t count the untold number of people who suffered and died from a workplace illness after they retired or were too ill to work.
Behind each loss of life are those left behind to mourn their loss. For them, they were loved ones: parents, children, siblings, and friends who deserved to go home safe at the end of their shift. And every time a worker is sickened or hurt on the job, there are loved ones who need to care for them and hope they recover. A workplace injury or fatality can also impact co-workers and supervisors leaving them to deal with emotional stress and productivity challenges after experiencing a traumatic incident.
Workers and their loved ones deserve better. To encourage and help businesses to protect workers, and improve safety and health at their workplaces, we’re inviting them to join Safe + Sound Week this Aug. 7-13.
The core message of Safe + Sound Week has always been that taking a comprehensive and systematic approach to health and safety is critical to ensuring a safe and sound workplace.
Employers who adopt health and safety programs benefit from:
Fewer injuries and illnesses
Improved productivity and competitiveness
Improved worker engagement
This year, Safe + Sound Week is focused on addressing the current mental health crisis affecting U.S. workplaces. Workplace stress worsened during the pandemic. A 2021 study by the American Psychological Association found that 65% of workers considered work to be a significant source of stress. Severe impacts of the mental health crisis are also on the rise. For people employed in the construction industry and building trades, for example, workers are significantly more likely to die from suicide or drug overdose than physical hazards like falls and electrocutions.
Left unaddressed, stress and mental illness can have harmful impacts not only on a person’s well-being and quality of life, but also on their job performance, productivity and ability to work safely. Employees in need of mental health care need not only access to help, but a work environment where it is understood and encouraged like any other health issue.
Safe + Sound Week 2023 highlights our commitment to helping employers to make mental health care an important part of strengthening workplaces, families and communities.
Employers can — and should — include mental health in their safety and health programs, and make sure that their health plans and employee assistance programs are ensuring employees access to the services they need. We have resources, solutions, and support for mental health and well-being that employers can use to help workers. Employers who make supporting mental health part of their safety and health management system show a commitment to workers that benefits them and improves their workplace safety culture.
Our vision at OSHA is to see safety and health established as a core value in every workplace in America. Help us make that vision a reality: Take the pledge today to participate in Safe + Sound Week and join the conversation online using #SafeAndSoundAtWork.