In a letter this month to those employers, Jonathan L. Snare, acting assistant secretary of Labor for 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," Snare 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 offer assistance to employers so they can address the hazards and reduce occupational injuries and illnesses."
Rates Culled from 2003 Employer-Reported Data
Establishments with the nation's high workplace injury and illness rates were identified by OSHA through employer-reported data from a 2004 survey of 80,000 worksites (the survey consisted of data from calendar year 2003). The workplaces identified had 6.5 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 2003 was 2.6 DART instances for every 100 workers.
Employers receiving the letters also were provided copies of their injury and illness data, along with a list of the most frequently violated OSHA standard for their specific industry. Snare 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.
List of Sites Available on the Web
The 14,000 sites are listed alphabetically, by state, on OSHA's Web site at http://www.osha.gov/as/opa/foia/hot_11.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 one territory (Puerto Rico) that 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. Snare said that information obtained from the survey "gives OSHA the opportunity to place inspection resources where they're needed most" and also "helps us plan outreach and compliance assistance programs where they will benefit most."