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OSH Facts

Facts on Workplace Safety and Health in the United States

Each year, some 5,500 workers die on the job and some 5.7 million are injured or become ill due to workplace hazards in the U.S. Over 600 people are killed in acts of workplace violence each year. It would take 84 years for OSHA to inspect each workplace in the U.S. once. Over 8 million workers in the U.S.–those employees by state and local governments–lack any OSHA protections.


  • Fatality rate for all U.S. workers in 2007: 3.7 per 100,000 employees.
  • Fatality rate in 1970 when the OSH Act was passed: 18.0
  • Occupational injuries and illnesses per 10,000 workers in 2007: 122.
  • Cases of injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work in 2007: 1,200,000.
  • 38 youth aged 17 and under were killed on the job in 2007.
  • Federal OSHA’s budget is insufficient to allow them to enforce safety and health laws adequately. The OSHA budget in 1980 provided for a total of 2,951 Full-Time Equivalent staff positions. The budget for 2002 provides for only 2,316–a 22% reduction from the 1980 high point.
  • OSHA programs, including both state and federal jurisdictions, have a combined total of only 2,238 inspectors (compliance officers) to enforce the law and provide protections for over 200 million workers.
  • Get the Details: Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Detailed Occupational Injury and Illness data by occupation, industry, etc. (Bureau of Labor Statistics) Death on the Job, 2008 The AFL-CIO’s excellent annual report contains a wealth of data and analysis related to worker health and safety.

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