Firms with High Injury/Illness Rates Receive OSHA Letter

OSHA has sent a letter to approximately 14,000 employers to notify them that injury and illness rates at their work sites are higher than average and that assistance is available to help them better protect their employees.

In the letter, OSHA explains that the notification is a proactive step to motivate 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,” OSHA Administrator Edwin Foulke Jr. said. “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 persuade employers to use resources at their disposal to address these hazards and reduce occupational injuries and illnesses.”

Establishments with high workplace injury and illness rates were identified by OSHA through employer-reported data from a 2006 survey of 80,000 work sites (the survey collected data from calendar year 2005). The workplaces identified had 5.3 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 2006 was 2.4 DART instances for every 100 workers.

Employers Also Received Copies of Their Injury/Illness Data

Employers receiving the letters have been 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 offers assistance in helping turn the numbers around by suggesting, among other things, the use of free OSHA safety and health consultation services provided through the states, state workers' compensation agencies, insurance carriers or outside safety and health consultants.

List Does Not Designate Those Earmarked for Inspections

The list does not designate those earmarked for any future inspections. According to OSHA, an announcement of targeted inspections will be made later this year.

The work 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. According to the agency, information obtained from the survey gives OSHA the opportunity to place inspection resources where they're needed most and helps the agency plan outreach and compliance-assistance programs where they will be most beneficial.

The 14,000 sites are listed alphabetically, by state, on OSHA's Web site.

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