Release Number: 10-294-NAT
March 9, 2010
Contact: Diana Petterson
US Labor Department's OSHA notifies 15,000 workplaces nationwide of high injury and illness rates
Assistance is available to keep workplaces safe
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration surveys employers to collect workplace injury and illness data it uses to identify employers whose injury and illness rates are considerably higher than the national average. A letter has been sent to about 15,000 workplaces with the highest numbers of injuries and illnesses resulting in days away from work, restricted work activities or job transfers, known as the DART rate.
"Receipt of this letter means that workers in that particular establishment are being injured at a higher rate than in most other businesses of its kind in the country," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels. "Employers whose businesses have injury and illness rates this high need to take immediate steps to protect their workers."
Employers receiving the letters also were provided copies of their injury and illness data, along with a list of the most frequently cited OSHA standards for their specific industry. The letter offered assistance in helping to reduce workplace injuries and illnesses by suggesting, among other things, the use of OSHA's free safety and health consultation services for small businesses provided through the states.
OSHA identified businesses with the nation's highest rates of workplace injuries and illnesses through employer-reported data from a 2009 survey of about 100,000 worksites. (This survey collected injury and illness data for calendar year 2008.) Workplaces receiving notifications had DART rates more than twice the national average among all U.S. workplaces.
OSHA's consultation program is available to assist in addressing safety and health in the workplace for employers with 250 or fewer workers. This program is administered by a state agency and operated separately from OSHA's enforcement program. The service is free and confidential, and there are no fines even if problems are found. Designed for small employers, the consultation program can help an employer identify hazards while finding effective and economical solutions for repairing them. In addition, the OSHA state consultant can assist in developing and implementing a safety and health management system for the workplace.
A list of the employers receiving the letter is available on OSHA's public Web site at http://www.osha.gov/as/opa/foia/hot_16.html. A list of OSHA's consultation services is available at http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/smallbusiness/consult.html.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, outreach, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
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