Osha Targets Least Safe Workplaces

More than 14,000 employers can expect letters soon from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration encouraging them to try harder to protect their workers. The businesses targeted had twice the average rate for workplace injuries and illnesses.

“The purpose of the notification process in to alert employers that their injury and illness rates are above average,” said OSHA Administrator John Henshaw. “This process not only raises awareness among employers of their higher than average injury and illness rates, but it also affords them a golden opportunity to take steps to reduce those rates.”

OHSA identified establishments with the nation’s highest lost workday injury and illness rates for 2001, based on data from 93,000 employers. These workplaces had at least six injuries or illnesses for every 100 full-time workers. The average U.S. workplace had just under three lost-time instances for every 100 workers.

The list does not include employers earmarked for programmed inspections and applies only to industries covered by federal OSHA. The list does not include employers in the 21 states and two territories that operate OSHA- approved state plans for the private sector.

Henshaw suggested employers turn their high injury/illness rates around by hiring

outside safety and health consultants and using OSHA’s free safety and health consultation services.

“The data collection initiative, which is conducted each year, gives us a clearer picture of those establishments with higher than normal injury and illness rages,” Henshaw said. “Armed with this information, we’ll not only be able to place our inspection resources where they’re most needed, but we can also use the information to plan outreach and compliance assistance programs where they will benefit the most.”

This was the first year the data collection initiative included the construction industry with surveys from 13,000 construction employers. It’s also the first time the construction industry was included in the notification.

The 14,200 work-sites on the notification list are posted alphabetically, by state, on OSHA’s web site.