Progress in meeting objectives for occupational safety and health is summarized. Work related hazards are classified in two general types: trauma and exposures to toxic agents. The leading work related diseases are listed, and include: occupational lung diseases; musculoskeletal injuries; occupational cancers; amputations, fractures, eye loss, lacerations, and traumatic deaths; cardiovascular diseases; disorders of reproduction; neurotoxic disorders; noise induced loss of hearing; dermatologic conditions; and psychologic disorders. Public health practices implemented by the government are considered, in which information is provided, protective services are offered, policies are enunciated for protective actions, incentives are given for protective actions, or citizens are compelled to take protective action. Differences between general public health practices and occupational safety and health are discussed. Progress toward improved health status, reduced risk factors, improved public and professional awareness, improved services and protection, and improved surveillance and evaluation are assessed. The authors conclude that the objectives provide a helpful framework for directing public health actions in occupational safety and health. There is a lack of sufficient data on the status of health to confidently assess progress. Strengthened surveillance efforts are recommended.