ASSP Reacts to Fatality Data, Expects Impact at DEI Summit

The American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), the world’s oldest professional safety organization, is disheartened by newly released fatality data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS reported that the fatal occupational injury rate of 3.6 fatalities per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers in 2021 represented the highest annual rate since 2016.

Furthermore, ASSP is troubled that the share of Black or African American workers fatally injured on the job reached an all-time high of 12.6 percent of total fatalities in 2021. The Latino worker fatality rate of 4.5 per 100,000 workers also remained significantly above the national average.

“It’s unacceptable that our nation’s fatal worker injury rate is at a five-year high – a fact made worse by minority populations being disproportionately impacted,” said ASSP President Christine Sullivan, CSP, ARM. “Most occupational incidents are preventable given today’s technologies and proven safety and health strategies. Employers must be proactive in adopting workplace safety standards to protect workers across all industries.”

ASSP, which has 36,000 members worldwide, is increasing its focus on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the occupational safety and health profession, understanding there is a connection between DEI concepts and workplace safety. The organization has planned a free daylong DEI Summit on Jan. 26 that is open to workplace safety and health professionals everywhere. Registration for the online event opened Dec. 1.

“Diversity helps strengthen an organization in many ways, including the safety and health of its workforce,” Sullivan said. “We are going to hear from experts and collect different perspectives from attendees on how we can elevate DEI in our profession.”

Presenters and participants will collaborate on the DEI issues facing the industry today, generating ideas on how to remove barriers and build inclusive cultures to help the safety profession create safer workplaces. Discussions will focus on the way DEI directly impacts workplace safety and health.

“It’s so important to understand how societal issues such as racism and systemic inequities can undermine workplace safety and disenfranchise workers,” Sullivan said. “Organizational improvement occurs when diversity, equity and inclusion are embedded components of a business strategy.”

For more information on the virtual DEI Summit, please visit ASSP’s website.

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