The National Safety Council (NSC), Itasca, Ill., plans to extend its “Work to Zero” initiative. Launched with a grant from the Pittsburgh-based McElhattan Foundation in January 2019, the initiative focuses on educating employers about technological safety enhancements that can reduce deaths in the workplace.
In 2019, the latest year with data available, the NSC reported that there were 5,333 work-related fatalities recorded in the United States, costing an estimated $171 billion and representing the largest fatal case count since 2007.
“NSC is committed to working toward ‘zero’ by helping employers implement safety technologies,” according to the organization.
Since the initiative’s inception, the NSC has done the following:
Launched a website where companies can view common hazardous situations, understand how safety technology can protect workers’ lives and explore other “Work to Zero” resources and research
Created a free tool to identify top hazardous situations and locate relevant technology solutions for organizations
Developed educational materials and webinars on four emerging technologies: drones, fatigue monitoring and wearables, proximity sensors and augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR)
Hosted an annual “Work to Zero” Summit, bringing together environmental health and safety experts to discuss the latest life-saving technology
In May 2021, the NSC announced receipt of an additional grant of $3 million from the McElhattan Foundation to further support the initiative through 2050.
“Our foundation’s vision is to have every worker return home safely after their shift, and wider use of technology like AR/VR, drones, A.I. and robotics is essential to achieving this goal by 2050,” said Lesley Carlin, executive director of the McElhattan Foundation. “We look forward to seeing Work to Zero expand its reach to new industries and audiences, helping more employers see the benefits of protecting their workers through safety technology.”
With this additional support, NSC plans to reach its goal of eliminating workplace fatalities by demonstrating safety technology’s benefits, guiding employers to the best available solutions, helping employers prepare to innovate and offering information on how to implement solutions.