About 13,000 employers across the country are on notice to fix safety and health hazards that are driving up injury and illness rates in their workplaces. Up to 4,200 of the sites may be targeted for comprehensive safety and health inspections by OSHA over the next ten months.
The agency identified the establishments with the nation's highest lost workday injury and illness rates based on employer-reported data from a 1998 survey of 80,000 worksites. Worksites identified had eight or more injuries and illnesses resulting in lost work days for every 100 full-time workers; the national average was three instances per 100 workers.
"By targeting high-hazard worksites, we're placing our resources where they are most needed," said OSHA Administrator Charles N. Jeffress. "Employers reporting these high rates will more than likely undergo a detailed inspection sometime this year."
Jeffress sent letters to all employers identified in the survey, enclosing copies of their injury and illness data, as well as a list of the most frequently violated OSHA standard for their specific industry. And, while he addressed concerns for the high rates, he also offered the agency's assistance in helping employers turn those rates around, including hiring safety and health consultants, and using OSHA's on-site consultation program.
"We recognize that an elevated lost work day injury and illness rate does not necessarily indicate a lack of interest in safety and health on the part of your business," he said in the letter. "Whatever the cause, however, a high rate is costly to your company in both personal and financial terms."
This year's Site Specific Targeting plan replaces last year's enforcement plan which targeted 2,200 hazardous work sites. Added to this year's list of industries subject to inspection are livestock (except dairy and poultry), dairy and general farms, lumber and other construction materials, department stores and hospitals.
Also, unlike last year, all nursing homes with a rate at or above 14.0 will be inspected. Only the top 20 percent of those establishments were included last year since nursing homes were grouped with three related industries that resulted in a larger number of facilities than other classifications on the list. OSHA expects all workplaces targeted under this plan will be inspected by Jan. 31, 2001.
The 23 states and two territories that operate their own OSHA-approved programs are not required to adopt this site-specific targeting plan. However, they are required to operate their own inspection targeting system.
|Under the Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), all federal agencies are required to make available on the Internet, any records that have been disclosed in response to a FOIA request and which the agency determines have become or are likely to become the subject of subsequent requests. A list of the 13,000 employers is available below as part of OSHA's means of complying with the law. FOIA Responses:
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has identified and sent letters to almost 13,000 workplaces with the highest occupational injury and illness rates and is urging the employers to take action to remove hazards causing the high rates.
The employers are those whose establishments are covered by Federal OSHA and reported the highest "lost workday injury and illness" rates to OSHA in a survey of 1998 injury and illness data. For every 100 full-time workers, the 13,000 employers had eight or more injuries or illnesses which resulted in lost work days. The national average is 3.1.
The letter encourages employers to consider hiring an outside safety and health consultant, talking with their insurance carrier, or contacting the workers' compensation agency in their state for advice. An excellent way for employers with 250 or fewer workers to address safety and health is to ask for assistance from OSHA's on-site consultation program. The consultation program is administered by state agencies and operated separately from OSHA's inspection program. The service is free, and there are no fines even if problems are found.
The letter tells the employer where the OSHA consultation program in that state may be contacted.
The data collected were designed to provide establishment specific injury and illness information. OSHA does not use summary information to make state by state or industry by industry comparisons.
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