More than 350,000 workplace fatalities and more than 270 million workplace injuries occur annually worldwide. Efforts by the United States government to ensure workplace health and safety were minimal until President Richard Nixon signed the Occupational Safety and Health Act into law on December 29, 1970. The Act created the three agencies that administer it which are the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Its main goal is to ensure that employers provide employees with an environment free from recognized hazards, such as exposure to toxic chemicals, excessive noise levels, mechanical dangers, heat or cold stress, or unsanitary conditions.
Even with OSHA an on the job injury can happen at any time and any place. Physical hazards affect many people in the workplace. In the United States in 2012, 4,383 workers died from job injuries. According to data from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average of 15 workers die from traumatic injuries each day in the United States, and an additional 200 workers are hospitalized.
On the job injuries happen in all job types and fields. The jobs in the United States where the workers are most likely to die from an incident are construction with 774 deaths, transportation with 661 deaths, and forestry with 621 deaths. Jobs in the United States where the worker has the highest rate of being killed is agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting, with 27.9 worker deaths per 100,000 workers. The second highest is mining with 19.8 deaths per 100,000 workers.
Not all injuries are fatal. Occupational hearing loss is the most common work-related injury in the United States, with 22 million workers exposed to hazardous noise levels at work. The most common cause of workplace injury is coming into contact with objects with 23.8 injuries per 100,000 full time employees. Out of all employer reported injuries and illnesses in 2014, musculoskeletal injures accounted for 32%.
A common and important factor that spans across all jobs is the safety climate or safety culture of an organization. Safety culture concerns how workplace safety is managed, consisting of the shared attitudes, beliefs, perceptions, and values among employees.