At the onset of the twenty-first century, unsafe and unhealthy working conditions still take a heavy human and economic toll(1). Leigh et al.(2) conservatively estimated that approximately hundred million occupational injuries (100,000 deaths) and 11 million occupational diseases (700,000 deaths) occur worldwide each year. There are high direct costs such as medical and insurance administration expenses and indirect costs such as lost earnings, lost home-based production, and lost fringe benefits of occupational injuries and illnesses(3).
In the United States of America, for example, approximately 6,500 job-related deaths from injury, 13.2 million nonfatal injuries, 60,300 deaths from disease, and 862,200 illnesses were estimated to occur annually in the civilian workforce(3). These occupational injuries and illnesses raised total direct (US$65 billion) plus indirect (US$106 billion) costs, while the majority of US$145 billion was related to occupational injuries.