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Workers Memorial Day --- April 28, 2011

Workers Memorial Day recognizes those workers who have died or sustained work-related injuries or illnesses. In 2008, a total of 5,214 U.S. workers died from occupational injuries (1), and 49,000 deaths annually are attributed to work-related illnesses (2). In 2009, an estimated 3.28 million workers in private industry and 862,900 in state and local government had a nonfatal occupational injury or illness. Of those workers, 1.7 million in private industry and 374,100 in state and local government were transferred, placed on work restrictions, or took time away from work (3). An estimated 2.6 million workers were treated in emergency departments for occupational injuries and illnesses in 2009, and approximately 80,000 were hospitalized (CDC, unpublished data, 2011).

Work-related injuries and deaths are costly. Employers and insurers spent nearly $79 billion on workers' compensation in 2008 (4). Employers, workers, and society overall paid additional costs, including lost productivity and charges to other insurance systems. Additional information on workplace safety and health is available from CDC at


  1. US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Census of fatal occupational injuries summary, 2009. Washington, DC: US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics; 2010. Available at Accessed April 27, 2011.
  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. Nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work, 2009. Washington, DC: US Department of Labor; 2008. Available at Accessed April 12, 2011.
  4. Sengupta I, Reno V, Burton JF Jr. Workers' compensation: benefits, coverage, and costs, 2008. Washington, DC: National Academy of Social Insurance; 2010. Available at Accessed April 12, 2011.

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