An estimated 14,000 American workers died on the job in 1970, the year before the U.S. Department of Labor formed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, charged with improving workplace safety.
In the nearly 50 years since OSHA was formed, workplace fatalities in America have plummeted drastically.
By 2009, there were 4,340 workplace fatalities.
The number increased to 5,250 in 2018, a 2% jump from the 5,147 fatalities in 2017, but the numbers have never reached the staggering levels recorded before President Richard Nixon signed OSHA into law Dec. 29, 1970.
The U.S. Labor Department recently launched a new webpage to commemorate the 50th anniversary of OSHA and its efforts to make workplaces safer.
The webpage highlights safety improvements the agency introduced that have transformed the workplace, from OSHA's first standards and whistleblower protections, to programs that assist small businesses, to creating training centers and offering educational grants.
Since OSHA was formed, employment in the U.S. has nearly doubled to include more than 130 million workers at 7.2 million work sites.
Yet, the rate of reported serious workplace injuries and illnesses has declined from 11 per 100 workers in 1972 to 3.6 per 100 workers in 2009.
OSHA safety and health standards have prevented countless workplace deaths, the agency says.
Those standards cover roofing, trenching, machine guarding, asbestos, benzene, lead, and bloodborne pathogens.
For more information, contact CBIA's Phillip Montgomery (860.244.1982).