NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and no longer represents OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

Nationalize the "Maine 200" Concept

Action: OSHA will implement programs based on the "Maine 200" concept nationwide.

Background: In 1993, OSHA tried a new workplace safety and health program in the State of Maine. Using employer-specific data, OSHA found the 200 employers with Maine's highest number of workplace injuries and illnesses. The 200 companies represented only 1% of the State's employers and 30% of Maine's workers, but accounted for 45% of Maine's workers' compensation injuries and illnesses.

Each employer was given the choice of participating in a new program or sticking with the traditional enforcement approach. OSHA asked each employer to develop a comprehensive safety and health program to fix the hazards that were causing injuries and illnesses at their workplaces. If employers chose to join in a partnership with OSHA to develop an effective program (as 98% did), they were given a significantly lower priority for inspection and a high priority for technical assistance. These programs had to include management commitment and employee involvement, worksite analysis, hazard prevention and control, and worker training. Their performance is being monitored through regular reporting and random inspections.

OSHA evaluation shows that employers in the program have identified over 95,000 instances of hazards and have already eliminated 55,000 of them. In two years, the employers self-identified more than fourteen times as many hazards as could have been cited by OSHA inspectors (in part, because OSHA's small staff could never have visited all 1300 worksites involved). Since joining the program, 6 out of 10 of the employers have already experienced a decrease in their lost-time injury rate. Workers' compensation claims--and insurance premiums--are now decreasing. The key to the success of the "Maine 200" program is that it encourages hazard identification and safety awareness by employers and workers, rather than having those workers depend on OSHA compliance officers.

Description: Several of OSHA's field offices have programs like "Maine 200" at different stages of development. Under these programs, OSHA will screen workplace-specific injury and illness data for many employers. OSHA's local offices will use this data and other locally-based information to identify serious workplace hazards. OSHA staff will offer employers incentives to abate hazards and to tailor comprehensive safety and health programs to their workplaces. OSHA will work actively with these companies to help them develop good programs. Employers who accept OSHA's offer will receive consultation, outreach, and technical assistance services. Employers who choose not to participate will be subject to traditional OSHA enforcement.

This approach represents a bold change of direction for OSHA. The "Maine 200" concept combines into one integrated program workplace-specific injury and illness information, partnership between OSHA and industry, involvement of workers, enforcement and non-enforcement options, and an emphasis on the development of effective safety and health programs. OSHA will ensure safer and healthier workplaces for more workers by leveraging its resources with a larger number of workplaces in a wider range of industries.

Implementation Plan: In 1995, OSHA has tested several variations on "Maine 200" in States where worksite-specific injury and illness data is available from State workers' compensation systems. OSHA plans to have programs in nine other States by the end of the year. Programs gave already been initiated in Wisconsin and Missouri. Programs also are being developed in OSHA field offices in Atlanta, Georgia, and Parsippany, New Jersey. In these other States, OSHA will use a combination of the Maine and Wisconsin programs, using both the number of workers' compensation claims and injury/illness rates to identify hazardous workplaces. In 1996, OSHA will implement the Maine concept nationally by collecting data directly from employers and providing it to OSHA staff in its redesigned area offices to solve local workplace safety and health problems.

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and no longer represents OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.