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Workers' Memorial Day --- April 28, 2009

Workers' Memorial Day recognizes those workers who died or sustained work-related injuries or illnesses during the previous year. In 2007, a total of 5,488 U.S. workers died from occupational injuries (1). Another 49,000 annual deaths are attributed to work-related diseases each year (2). In 2007, an estimated 4.0 million private-sector workers had a nonfatal occupational injury or illness; approximately half of them were transferred, restricted, or took time away from work (3). An estimated 3.4 million workers were treated in emergency departments in 2004 (the most recent data available) because of occupational injuries, and approximately 80,000 were hospitalized (4).

Work-related injuries and illnesses are costly. In 2006, employers spent nearly $87.6 billion on workers' compensation (5), but this represents only a portion of total work-related injury and illness costs borne by employers, workers, and society overall, including cost-shifting to other insurance systems and most costs of work-related illness. Additional information on workplace safety and health is available from CDC at


  1. US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. National census of fatal occupational injuries in 2007. Washington, DC: US Department of Labor; 2008. Available at
  2. Steenland K, Burnett C, Lalich N, Ward E, Hurrell J. Dying for work: the magnitude of U.S. mortality from selected causes of death associated with occupation. Am J Ind Med 2003;43:461--82.
  3. US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Workplace injuries and illnesses in 2007. Washington, DC: US Department of Labor; 2008. Available at
  4. CDC. Nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses---United States, 2004. MMWR 2007;56:393--7.
  5. Sengupta I, Reno V, Burton JF Jr. Workers' compensation: benefits, coverage, and costs, 2006. Washington, DC: National Academy of Social Insurance; 2008. Available at

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Date last reviewed: 4/22/2009


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