Warning Letters Sent to 9,400 Workplaces With Above-Average Illness, Injury Rates

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By Bruce Rolfsen  

 

As part the Site-Specific Targeting Program, 9,414 establishments were sent letters warning that their high injury and illness rates in 2011 could prompt the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to inspect the businesses, the agency disclosed March 18 in a response to Freedom of Information Act requests.

The letters, signed by David Michaels, the assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, informed employers that up to 2,500 workplaces could be inspected as a result of their inclusion on the list. The letters were mailed only to employers covered by federal OSHA. Letters were not sent to employers in states with federally approved job safety programs.

Similar letters have been mailed by OSHA during past years. In 2012, letters went to about 14,950 employers and in 2011, about 14,640 letters (42 OSHR 292, 3/29/12).

OSHA did not respond to a question about why fewer letters were mailed this year.

Most Letters Go to Manufacturers

Manufacturers were mailed 4,899 letters, and wholesale trade establishments got 1,352 letters, the list showed.

The business category with the most listed establishments was nursing homes, convalescent homes, and other residential medical care facilities (North American Industry Classification System No. 623110) with 1,005 businesses.

Other business groups with large numbers of recipients include:

• home improvement stores (NAISC No. 444110) with 562 establishments,

• fabricated structural metal manufacturing (No. 332312) with 262 establishments,

• general warehousing and storage (No. 493110) with 163 establishments, and

• metal stamping (No. 332116) with 153 establishments.

 

To be placed on the list, an establishment must have had a “days away [from work], restricted, or transferred” (DART) rate that exceeded its industry average, the letter said.

For example, an iron and steel forging plant with a rate above the industry average of a 4.1 DART rate could be on the list, while a rate above 1.1 could put an aircraft part manufacturer on the list.

In December, OSHA issued its directive for the current Site-Specific Targeting Program.

In general, the directive instructed OSHA area offices to give priority to establishments previously selected to be part of an ongoing evaluation of the targeting program. Once those employers were checked, area offices could inspect other sites. Businesses with the worst injury and illness rates in 2011 were the highest priority.

By Bruce Rolfsen  


Michaels's letter is available at http://www.osha.gov/as/opa/foia/letter13.html.

The Site-Specific Targeting Program directive is available at http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/Directive_pdf/CPL_02-13-01.pdf.