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Workers Memorial Day --- April 28, 2010

Workers Memorial Day recognizes those workers who died or sustained work-related injuries or illnesses during the previous year. In 2008, a total of 5,071 U.S. workers died from occupational injuries (1), and 49,000 deaths annually are attributed to work-related illnesses (2). In 2008, an estimated 3.7 million workers in private industry and 940,000 in state and local government had a nonfatal occupational injury or illness; 40%--50% of these workers were transferred, placed on work restrictions, or took time away from work (3). An estimated 3.4 million workers were treated in emergency departments for occupational injuries and illnesses in 2007, and approximately 94,000 were hospitalized (CDC, unpublished data, 2010).

Work-related injuries and deaths are costly. Employers and insurers spent nearly $85 billion on workers' compensation in 2007 (4). Those expenditures are only a portion of the costs borne by employers, workers, and society overall, including costs paid by other insurance systems and most of the 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 2008. Washington, DC: US Department of Labor; 2008. Available at Accessed April 12, 2010.
  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 2008. Washington, DC: US Department of Labor; 2008. Available at Accessed April 12, 2010.
  4. Sengupta I, Reno V, Burton JF Jr. Workers' compensation: benefits, coverage, and costs, 2007. Washington, DC: National Academy of Social Insurance; 2009. Available at Accessed April 12, 2010.

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