Worker health

About Worker health

Every year in New York City, workers are injured on the job or become ill as a result of exposure to health hazards at work. However, most work-related illnesses and injuries are preventable –  safer work environments can be achieved when workplace hazards are understood and appropriate prevention measures are put in place.

Data on work-related injuries and illness are used to show how often these preventable events occur and to identify  factors that place workers at risk. These data are also used to design, target and evaluate prevention strategies and regulations that aim to keep workers safe and healthy.

Work, Workplaces and Health

High-quality work benefits physical and mental health in a variety of ways. In addition to economic benefits, work can be a source of identity and pride, an avenue for social participation and a way to learn new skills. Individuals who work have lower rates of illness and live longer than those who are unemployed. On the other hand, unfavorable work environments expose workers to serious health hazards which regularly result in injury, illness, disability and death.

Although many factors contribute to worker health, such as workplace design, organization, worker characteristics and culture, it is the employer’s responsibility to provide safe and healthful workplaces for their workers.

Preventing Workplace Injury and Disease

Both workers and employers play important roles in keeping workplaces safe and healthy.

Employers should:

  • Demonstrate and communicate an ongoing commitment to safety and wellbeing.
  • Eliminate known hazards if possible and design work processes and environments to minimize exposure.
  • Ask workers or their representatives what safety and health issues are most important to them and act on their concerns.
  • Provide safety and health education and resources to all workers.

Workers should:

  • Communicate concerns about potential hazards to their employer in a timely manner.
  • Follow established work safety practices, such as wearing recommended personal protective equipment and following safety protocols.
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