In the letter, OSHA Administrator Edwin Foulke Jr. explained that the notification was a proactive step to encourage employers to take action now to reduce rates and improve workplace safety and health conditions.
"A high injury and illness rate is costly to employees and employers in both personal and financial terms," Foulke said. "Our goal is to make them aware of their high injury and illness rates and to get them to focus on eliminating hazards in their workplace."
OSHA identified businesses with the nation's highest rates of workplace injuries and illnesses through employer-reported data from a 2007 survey of 80,000 worksites (the data was from calendar year 2006). Workplaces receiving notifications had 5.4 or more injuries resulting in days away from work, restricted work activity, or job transfer (DART) for every 100 full-time employees. Nationally, the average U.S. workplace recorded 2.3 DART occurrences for every 100 employees.
Alerted employers also were provided copies of their injury and illness data, along with a list of industry-specific most frequently cited OSHA standards.
The letter also offered 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.