A look at the progress, and path forward for industrial safety programs.
According to the CDC, work-related fatal incidents and injuries began to significantly decrease during the early part of the 20th century. Part of this drop-off can be credited to advances that diminished the risks commonly faced from things like unruly animals, dangerous hand tools, and rickety ladders. Another reason behind the decline was a gradual shift in jobs from the relatively dangerous production of goods to comparatively safer ones, like office work and retail sales, although workplace dangers remain very much with us, as do efforts to reduce them.
For example, mining is still a comparatively risky activity with an annual fatality rate around nine for every hundred thousand miners employed. But in 1900, that same rate was about 300 for every hundred thousand miners. Over the course of a career in mining, that meant one out of every 10 miners would die from a work-related accident.