What is NAOSH Week?

North American Occupational Safety and Health Week, or NAOSH Week, occurs every year during the first full week of May. NAOSH Week is intended to raise awareness about occupational safety, health and the environment. The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) joined with the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering (CSSE) in 2002 to raise the public's awareness of occupational safety, health and the environment in North America during NAOSH Week. This is just one tool the almost 100-year-old ASSE and its 32,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professional members use throughout the year to promote occupational safety aimed at preventing injuries and illnesses. Several organizations representing thousands of businesses have partnered with ASSE and CSSE to support NAOSH Week, including U.S. federal agencies such as the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to reach millions of people around the globe on the importance of being safe at work.

During NAOSH Week, ASSE and CSSE members, OSHA and NAOSH partners develop and implement activities throughout North America to promote NAOSH Week. ASSE members have held fleet safety classes, ergonomic awareness events, distributed catastrophe preparedness information, distributed free teen worker safety and preventing roadway crash brochures, developed and presented teen worker safety courses, helped Habitat for Humanity, held a personal protective equipment (PPE) fashion show, donated PPE and much more. In past years, NAOSH themes have included: mining safety; transportation safety, as transportation accidents are the number one cause of on-the-job deaths; youth workplace safety; and more.

In the past few years the United States Congress has passed a resolution supporting NAOSH Week, Occupational Safety and Health Professional Day, ASSE and occupational safety, health and environmental practitioners who work to prevent accidents, injuries and occupational diseases, create safer work and leisure environments and develop safer products. They are committed to protecting people, property and the environment globally and work to make sure that the millions of people who go to work each day return home safely.

To support NAOSH Week efforts, each year ASSE sponsors its kids “Safety-on-the-Job” poster contest for ASSE members’ children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews and chapter-sponsored schools. [1] The poster contest prizes, which include savings bonds, are awarded to children who best illustrate safety at work in their poster. Children aged 5-14 can enter the contest which is broken down into five age groups with first, second, third and fourth place winners in each age group. The poster contest winners, participants and their families are honored at several events in Washington, D.C. during NAOSH Week at the U.S. Department of Labor and at the U.S. Capitol. The winning poster in each age group is also featured on the international NAOSH poster for that year distributed and displayed worldwide.

Also, 2007 was the first year that Occupational Safety and Health Professional Day (OSHP) was celebrated. OSHP Day falls on the Wednesday of NAOSH Week. The day was established to honor occupational safety, health and environmental professionals who have dedicated their lives to protecting people, property and the environment. There is a special web page focusing on safety and health professionals' experiences at work, how they got into the profession and the history of safety at www.asse.org/naosh09. [2]

Each year ASSE urges everyone to get involved in NAOSH Week in an effort to better educate the public about the positive benefits a safe workplace provides not only for workers, but for their families, friends, businesses, their local community and the global community. In 2007 close to 6,000 people lost their lives from on-the-job injuries and never made it home. We’d like to move that number to 0.

Here are a few suggestions on what you can do:

At Work

  • Sponsor a poster contest for your employees’ children and create a Safety Calendar for your staff and clients
  • Host a Family Safety Fair or picnic for your company and their families;
  • Launch a recognition program for safety suggestions that are put into use or enhance ongoing health and safety practices.
  • Conduct an Open House that focuses on health and safety. Involve suppliers. Invite local dignitaries, clients and colleagues.
  • Conduct training sessions for employees
  • Do local news releases on being safe at work tips for your local media (info. can be found on www.asse.org)
  • Set up specific safety demonstrations, focused on safe work habits
  • Launch a “New Worker” Orientation Manual
  • Promote NAOSH Week through articles in your company newsletter
  • Insert NAOSH Week messages in correspondence, memorandums, e-mail messages to staff
  • Display the free NAOSH Week poster in offices, on bulletin boards, at work stations
  • Distribute buttons, stickers, and pens to your staff
  • Use NAOSH Week pens, safety whistles, etc as awards for safety achievements!

At Schools, Colleges, Universities

  • Students are the workers and business leaders of tomorrow. Making them aware of safety and the need for training and knowledge is critical to helping them work safely in the future. Some activities include:
  • Invite classes to tour your operations, highlighting basic safety features and the importance of working safely
  • Promote poster competitions. Sponsor special safety days
  • Conduct training sessions specific to the new and inexperienced worker
  • Host a Fashion Show of personal protective equipment
  • Make posters, videos, or speakers available to speak to students
  • Work with local school boards to coordinate special events or help them expand their safety efforts
  • Work with high school students to promote safety as a career!

In Your Community

  • Officially acknowledge NAOSH Week with a flag raising ceremony and signing of a NAOSH Week proclamation by your mayor, community dignitaries and other government officials
  • Display a NAOSH Week banner in a prominent location in your community
  • Plan special events such as shopping mall displays that feature safety messages sponsored by local businesses that are supporting NAOSH Week – the tools can be found at www.asse.org/naosh09
  • Sponsor a public symposium on health and safety issues
  • Encourage local retailers to display NAOSH Week posters
  • Organize a safety poster contest for children
  • Send public service announcements to local radio stations, and contact local media to arrange interviews or promote organization’s activities
  • Work with community newspapers to publish a special supplement featuring safety articles, advertising, and NAOSH Week events and activities.