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Tom Methvin
Tom Methvin
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employers cited by OSHA for high worker injury rates

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Approximately 14,000 employers have been notified that injury and illness rates at their worksites are higher than average and that assistance is available to help them fix safety and health hazards. In a letter last month to those employers, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (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. Discussing the magnitude of the problem, OSHA Administrator Edwin G. Foulke, Jr. observed:

This identification process is meant to raise awareness that injuries and illnesses are high at these facilities. 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.

Establishments with the nation’s high workplace injury and illness rates were identified by OSHA through employer-reported data from a 2005 survey, consisting of data from calendar year 2004, of 80,000 worksites. The workplaces identified had 6.0 or more injuries or illnesses resulting in days away from work, restricted work activity, or job transfer for every 100 full-time workers. The national average during 2004 was 2.5 such instances for every 100 workers. Employers receiving the letters were also 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 to each employer also offered the agency’s assistance in helping turn the numbers around. Some of the things available include, 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.

The 14,000 sites are listed alphabetically, by state, on OSHA’s website at: http://www.osha.gov/as/opa/foia/hot_12.html. The list does not designate those earmarked for any future inspections. I understand that 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 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.

Source: Insurance Journal