NAOSH Week was first launched in June 1997, marked by an agreement between Canada, the United States and Mexico. CSSE's Canadian Occupational Health and Safety Week (COHS) had been observed from 1986-1996. 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 suggested to his Mexican and American counterparts that their countries may wish to become involved in a similar endeavor to COHS Week.
Subsequently, CSSE was approached for permission and support to expand the COHS Week format and experience to Mexico and the United States. After many meetings between Labour Canada and the CSSE COHS Committee in 1995, the proposal to expand the COHS format into the North American arena was formalized with the CSSE Board of Directors at their spring 1996 meeting. It was agreed that CSSE would adopt the North American concept and implement it in place of the Canadian Week. Labour Canada agreed to ensure that CSSE was the officially recognized safety organization responsible for NAOSH Week.
In September 1996, the agreement was taken to the NAFTA meeting and all parties agreed to the proposal. NAOSH Week was established.
The goal during Safety and Health Week 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.