NAOSH Week – North American Occupational Safety and Health Week – was first launched in June 1997. During the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) talks between the governments of Mexico, United States, and Canada, workplace safety within the boundaries of all three nations was discussed by government labour department representatives. Canada’s representative at these talks was familiar with Canada’s COHS Week (CSSE’s Canadian Occupational Health and Safety Week) and suggested to his Mexican and American counterparts that their countries may wish to become involved in a similar endeavor. It was agreed that CSSE would adopt the North American concept and implement it in place of the Canadian Week and was deemed the proprietor and governing body.

The goal is to focus employers, employees, partners and the public on the importance of preventing injury and illness in the workplace, at home and in the community.

The success of NAOSH Week is rooted in a community-based approach. Across the country, NAOSH Week events and activities are coordinated by local, provincial and/or regional committees, comprised primarily of volunteers, who share a focus and vision of safer workplaces and comm unities. Partnerships with government, business, suppliers, CSSE Chapters, community health organizations and other safety groups provide the support, resources and network necessary to manage the NAOSH Week plans.

The three hands forming an equilateral triangle portrays the three participating nations – Canada, the USA and Mexico – and symbolizes joint venture, cooperation and the commitment to the common goals shared by all occupational health and safety partners, as well as all tripartite partnerships between business, labour and governments. The connected hands illustrate assistance and cooperation on many levels – from interpersonal relationships in the workplace to international exchange.