It was not until 1970 that Congress, under President Richard Nixon, passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act. There were 14,000 workplace fatalities that year. As part of the act, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, was established to set and enforce safety standards in the workplace. Since then, standards have improved and workplace fatalities have declined to less than 5,200 in 2016. Still, some jobs remain far more dangerous than others.
Today, the vast majority of working Americans are relatively safe in their work environment. Across all industries in both the public and private sectors, there were 3.6 deaths for every 100,000 full-time workers. For certain professionals, such as school teachers and administrators or writers and editors, mistakes almost never have physical ramifications, and workplace fatality rates hover just above zero.