Knock-Knock. Who''s there? OSHA. OSHA Who?
If you think this is the start of a joke, think again. Safety professionals at the approximately 3,000 worksites that reported high injury and illness rates for the year 2000 should expect visits from their friendly area Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspectors sometime in the next year.
"High injury and illness rates have a significant personal impact on workers, and are an added financial burden to employers," said OSHA Administrator John Henshaw. "By focusing on worksites with the highest rates, we can target our inspection and enforcement resources where they are most needed and where they will have the most benefit."
This is the fourth year OSHA has used a site-specific targeting inspection program, which consists of employer-reported injury and illness data received through OSHA''s annual Data Initiative. This year''s program was based on a 2001 survey of approximately 80,000 worksites (data was from calendar year 2000). The targeting program does not include construction worksites.
Employers who reported 14 or more injuries or illnesses that resulted in lost work days or restricted activity for every 100 full-time workers will be inspected sometime over the next year. Employers who reported at least eight (but less than 14) injuries or illnesses will be placed on a secondary list for possible inspection. The average lost workday injury and illness rate for private industry in the nation is three injuries or illnesses for every 100 full-time workers.
This year''s targeting program will not include the approximate 2,500 nursing or personal care facilities that reported injury and illness rates of eight or higher. OSHA recently announced plans to inspect approximately 1,000 of those facilities under a new National Emphasis Program focusing on specific hazards that account for the majority of nursing home staff injuries and illnesses. Those hazards include ergonomics (primarily back injuries from patient handling), bloodborne pathogens/tuberculosis, and slips, trips and falls.
Even if your facility has a stellar safety record, you''re not off the hook. OSHA will randomly select 200 workplaces that reported low injury and illness rates (from zero to eight) and add them to the primary inspection list. These establishments are all in the 25 highest rate industries that average a lost workday injury and illness rate of eight or greater.
Henshaw explained that by adding low injury and illness rate establishments to the program, constructive information can be obtained on the actual degree of compliance with OSHA requirements.
by Sandy Smith ([email protected])