Each year, the families and friends of fallen workers, and organizations observe April 28 as Workers Memorial Day.

On average, 13 workers die as a result of workplace injuries every day in the U.S. In communities across the nation, the people these workers left behind come together to remember them and raise their voices in the hope that – by helping others understand the nature and impact of their tragic losses – the hard work of preventing others from sharing their pain can be done.

“Workers Memorial Day allows us to remember those whose lives were claimed by their jobs, in too many instances, because required safety precautions were not taken to prevent tragedy,” said Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker in a statement. “Every year, thousands of workers are unable to return home to their families and their communities because workplace safety and health were overlooked. We must never underestimate the importance of ensuring OSHA requirements are met and followed as the law requires. As we are sadly reminded again, peoples’ lives depend on it.”

UN World Safety Day

Also on April 28, is the United Nations’ World Day for Safety and Health at Work.

Survey data released on April 28, 2022, by SafetyCulture and YouGov represents the views of American, British and Australian “frontline workers” – defined as individuals who must “physically show up to their job,” including the likes of hospitality, retail, manufacturing, and logistics workers. 

  • Less than half of frontline workers (44%) said they had received workplace health and safety training in the past year.
  • More than 1 in 5 frontline workers (24%) went on to say they hadn’t received any form of training in the past year. 
  • More than 1 in 4 frontline workers (29%) are unsure where to find their company’s workplace health and safety policy, with a further 1 in 10 (11%) unsure if it even exists.  

Bob Butler, Global General Manager of SafetyCulture said in a statement: “Our research shows that a degree of complacency is creeping into workplaces as we emerge from the pandemic and companies battle ongoing labor shortages, increased demands on productivity, and workplace burnout. However, working with our customers around the world, we continue to see how simple it can be to harness new technology, implement small changes and start the wheel of continuous improvement.” 

New and emerging risks

The UN cautions workers that new and emerging occupational risks may be caused by technical innovation or by social or organizational change, such as:

  • New technologies and production processes, e.g. nanotechnology, biotechnology
  • New working conditions, e.g. higher workloads, work intensification from downsizing, poor conditions associated with migration for work, jobs in the informal economy
  • Emerging forms of employment, e.g. self-employment, outsourcing, temporary contracts

Learning about these risks include through better scientific understanding is important, for example understanding the effects of ergonomic risks on musculoskeletal disorders — ISHN has featured articles on this topic.

Also consider changes in perceptions about the importance of certain risk factors, such as the effects of psychosocial factors on work-related stress. Many of these risks are not immediately clear.