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Workers' Memorial Day, April 28, 2004

Please note: An erratum has been published for this article. To view the erratum, please click here.

On April 28, Workers' Memorial Day, the United States will join the international labor community in remembering those workers who have died or been injured on the job. On an average day in the United States, as a result of work-related injuries or illnesses, nearly 11,000 workers are treated in emergency departments, and approximately 200 of these workers are hospitalized (1). An estimated 7,000 private-sector workers require time away from their jobs (2), 15 workers die from their injuries (3), and 134 die from work-related diseases (4). The emotional, economic, and social costs of these injuries and illnesses are immense. In 2001, workers' compensation costs for employers alone totaled $64 billion (5).

Workers' Memorial Day also will commemorate the 33rd anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Act, which created the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health within CDC and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration within the U.S. Department of Labor to lead the effort to create safer workplaces. Additional information about workplace safety is available at or telephone, 800-356-4674.


  1. CDC. Work-Related Injury Statistics Query System. Available at
  2. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Workplace injuries and illnesses in 2002. Available at
  3. Bureau of Labor Statistics. National census of fatal occupational injuries in 2002. Available at
  4. Steenland K, Burnett C, Lalich N, Ward E, Hurrel J. Dying for work: the magnitude of US mortality from selected causes of death associated with occupation. Am J Ind Med 2003;43:461--82.
  5. National Academy of Social Insurance. Workers' Compensation: Benefits, Coverages, and Costs, 2001. Available at

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