Labor Day is upon us. The holiday means many things for many people.
In 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed a law that made the first Monday in September a national holiday to recognize the social and economic achievements of American workers.
Over time, how we observe the holiday has changed. Whether you’re headed out of town, shopping for deals or enjoying the last unofficial days of summer, there’s plenty to do. And with that come plenty of risk.
AAA predicts that this long weekend will be a busy one for travelers. AAA booking data for flights, hotels, rental cars and cruises is higher than last year: domestic bookings are up 4% and international bookings are up 44%.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) expects to screen more than 14 million passengers Sept. 1-6, 2023.
“We anticipate this Labor Day holiday weekend will be busy, with passenger volumes nearly 11% higher than last year—volumes that already exceeded 2019 Labor Day holiday travel volumes,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske in a statement.
And while many people will have a nice trip, some people will never return home. The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates 455 people may die on U.S. roads this Labor Day holiday period.
"Preventable roadway crashes are still at exceedingly high levels, and every fatality statistic represents a lost family member, friend, loved one, colleague and community member," said Mark Chung, executive vice president of roadway practice at NSC, in a statement. "As a country, we must work together to collectively change behaviors and invest in infrastructure that promotes safe travel to save lives."
There are ways you can make your weekend, including any travel plans, safer. Here are a few suggestions:
- If you’re planning to hit the road, check your tire pressure, oil levels and make sure other fluids are topped off. While you’re at it, make sure your vehicle doesn’t have any open recalls by visiting www.CheckToProtect.org and entering your license plate or 17-digit Vehicle Identification number.
- Have a plan for drinking. The combination of long weekend, warm weather and alcohol don’t mix well. In fact, Labor Day is the second-deadliest driving holiday of the year, according to data from Jerry Insurance. If you want to imbibe, designate one member of your party to be the sober driver. Otherwise, call a rideshare service or hail a cab to get you from Point A to Point B safely.
- Planning a cookout or a potluck? Double-check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s food temperature guidelines to make sure you can keep hot foods hot and cool foods cold. Also make sure you cook food to the recommended internal temperature.
- If your plans involve enjoying the water, consider the dangers for each body of water. If you’re going to lounge by the swimming pool, make sure there are no slip, trip or fall hazards near the pool and that no one attempts to dive in shallow waters. If you’re headed for the open water, check the forecast to see what weather and water conditions will be like. Make sure the water is safe to swim in that day and that you wear the appropriate gear to enjoy your activities.
Whatever you do, the editors at EHS Today hope you find ways to unwind and celebrate your contributions to the labor market. Take care, have fun and stay safe!