Workplace Safety and Health Risks in a Changing Economy

America’s employers face complex safety and health challenges ranging from the $263 billion economic burden of worker injuries and illnesses to a rapidly changing workforce and the costly consequences of work-related stress and chronic disease management.  

Today’s on-demand global economy is also redefining what it means to be an employee. More people are working part-time, contracting services and reporting to multiple employers while balancing competing work and family demands. 

CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is pleased to join with the CDC Foundation in its launch of Business Pulse: Workplace Safety and Health. We encourage corporate leaders to explore the interactive infographic and online CDC resources to learn more about implementing innovative strategies for emerging worker safety and health issues while also addressing well-recognized workplace hazards and exposures. 

From NIOSH’s perspective, it is encouraging to see how employers are committed to protecting the safety and health of all of their workers. For example, through a Business Pulse Q&A with Dr. Pamela Hymel, chief medical officer for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, I learned about innovative health protection and promotion programs and practices for Disney employees.  

Either by choice or necessity, today’s workers are working beyond the “typical retirement age” than ever before and pursuing multiple types of work throughout their careers. To be responsive to these issues, it is imperative for employers and workers to collaborate in the design of safe and healthy workplace programs that support all workers and create conditions that allow workers to function optimally from the first day on the job until the last before retirement, regardless of individual or legal arrangements—employees versus contractors, temporary workers or contingent workers.

Organizations recognizing the new challenges that come with a changing workforce and commit to protecting the safety and health of all workers‎ will better serve their customers and communities and be better positioned for sustainable growth.

Business Pulse: Workplace Safety and Health is the ninth in a series of quarterly business features created by the CDC Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization. Other Business Pulse topics to date include business continuity, safe healthcare, global health security, travelers’ health, flu prevention, healthy workforce, heart health, and food safety.

Dr. L. Casey Chosewood is the director of the Office for Total Worker Health® at CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.