OSHA Identifies Workplaces with Highest Injury and Illness Rates

Some employers have received a letter from OSHA, and the news isn't good. OSHA is alerting 14,200 employers across the country that their injury and illness rates are higher than average.

For the first time, the construction industry was included in the notification.

"The purpose of the notification process is to alert employers that their injury and illness rates are above average," said OSHA Administrator John Henshaw, "and then offer assistance that will help reduce those rates. This process not only raises awareness among employers of their higher than average injury and illness rates, but it also affords them a golden opportunity to take steps to reduce those rates."

OSHA identified workplaces with the nation's highest lost workday injury and illness rates based on data reported by 93,000 employers surveyed by the agency last year (that survey collected injury and illness data from calendar year 2001). This was the first year the data collection initiative included the construction industry (13,000 construction employers were surveyed). Workplaces receiving the alert letters had six or more injuries or illnesses resulting in lost workdays or restricted activity for every 100 full-time workers. Nationwide, the average U.S. workplace had just under three lost-time instances for every 100 workers.

Henshaw sent letters to all employers with high injury and illness rates, and provided copies of their injury and illness data, along with a list of the most frequently violated OSHA standards for their specific industry. While addressing his concerns for the high rates, Henshaw also offered the agency's help in turning those rates around, suggesting, among other things, the hiring of outside safety and health consultants, and using free safety and health consultation services provided by the agency through the states.

"The data collection initiative, which is conducted each year, gives us a clearer picture of those establishments with higher than normal injury and illness rates," said Henshaw. "Armed with this information, we'll not only be able to place our inspection resources where they're most needed, but we can also use the information to plan outreach and compliance assistance programs where they will benefit the most."

The 14,200 sites are listed alphabetically, by state, on OSHA's Web site at www.osha.gov/as/opa/foia/hot_9.html.

The list does not designate those earmarked for programmed inspections. Also, the sites listed are those in states covered by federal OSHA; the list does not include employers in the 21 states and two territories that operate OSHA-approved state plans covering the private sector.

The list of the industry groups in the OSHA 2002 Data Initiative includes construction; manufacturing; horticultural specialties; livestock (except dairy and poultry); dairy farms; poultry and eggs; animal specialties; general farms, primarily animal; ornamental shrub and tree services; trucking and courier services (except air); public warehousing and storage; trucking terminal facilities; U.S. Postal Service; water transportation services; air transportation,scheduled; airports, flying fields and services; packing and crating; refuse systems; motor vehicles and motor vehicle parts and supplies; lumber and other construction materials; metals and minerals (except petroleum); scrap and waste materials; groceries and related products; beer, wine and distilled beverages; lumber and other building materials; department stores; nursing and personal care facilities; and hospitals.

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