OSHA IDs, Cautions Most Hazardous Workplaces

March 1, 2004 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The federal government has taken note of some of the more hazardous workplaces in the US - and has cautioned employers that they need to address the shortcomings.

>The Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health has alerted approximately 13,000 employers throughout the country that their injury and illness rates are significantly higher than the national average and encouraged them to take steps to address safety and health hazards in the workplace, according to the agency.

>In a letter this month to those employers, John Henshaw explained that while their rates were higher than most other businesses in the country, the notification was simply a proactive step to encourage employers to take steps now to reduce the rates and improve safety and health for their employees.

Above Average

“The intent of the notification is to alert employers that their injury and illness rates are above average,” Henshaw said in a news release, “but, as important, we also want to offer them assistance to help reduce those rates. This process is not necessarily a negative; on the contrary, it provides employers a tremendous opportunity to take steps to improve workplace safety and health and create value for their organization.”

>OSHA identified establishments with the nation’s highest workplace injury and illness rates based on data reported by 80,000 employers surveyed by the agency last year (that survey collected injury and illness data from calendar year 2002).

>Workplaces receiving the alert letters had seven or more injuries or illnesses resulting in days away from work, restricted work activity, or job transfer (DART) for every 100 full-time workers. Nationwide, the average workplace had fewer than three DART instances for every 100 workers, according to OSHA.

>Henshaw sent letters to all employers with high injury and illness rates, and provided copies of their injury and illness data, along with a list of the most frequently violated OSHA standard for their specific industry. The 13,000 sites are listed alphabetically, by state, on OSHA’s website at: http://www.osha.gov/as/opa/foia/hot_10.html

>The sites listed are those 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.