Approximately 14,000 employers have been notified that injury and illness rates at their worksites are higher than average and that assistance is available to help them fix safety and health hazards, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced April 24.
In a letter this month to those employers, OSHA explained that the notification was a proactive step to encourage employers to take steps now to reduce those rates and improve the safety and health environment in their workplaces.
"This identification process is meant to raise awareness that injuries and illnesses are high at these facilities," said OSHA administrator Edwin G. Foulke Jr. "Injuries and illnesses are costly to employers in both personal and financial terms. Our goal is to identify workplaces where injury and illness rates are high, and to offer assistance to employers so they can address the hazards and reduce occupational injuries and illnesses."
Establishments with the nation's high workplace injury and illness rates were identified by OSHA through employer-reported data from a 2005 survey of 80,000 worksites (the survey consisted of data from calendar year 2004). The workplaces identified had 6.0 or more injuries or illnesses resulting in days away from work, restricted work activity, or job transfer (DART) for every 100 full-time workers. The national average during 2004 was 2.5 DART instances for every 100 workers.
Employers receiving the letters were also provided copies of their injury and illness data, along with a list of the most frequently violated OSHA standards for their specific industry. The letter also offered the agency's assistance in helping turn the numbers around, suggesting, among other things, the use of free safety and health consultation services provided by OSHA through the states, state workers' compensation agencies, insurance carriers, or outside safety and health consultants.
The 14,000 sites are listed alphabetically, by state, on OSHA's Web site at: http://www.osha.gov/as/opa/foia/hot_12.html
The list does not designate those earmarked for any future inspections. An announcement of targeted inspections will be made later this year. Also, the sites listed are establishments in states covered by federal OSHA; the list does not include employers in the 21 states, and Puerto Rico, who operate OSHA-approved state plans covering the private sector.
OSHA's data collection initiative is conducted each year to provide the agency with a clearer picture of those establishments with higher than average injury and illness rates. Information obtained from the survey gives OSHA the opportunity to place inspection resources where they're needed most and also helps the agency plan outreach and compliance assistance programs where they will be most beneficial.