OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
National News Release USDL 99-115
Monday, April 26, 1999
Contact: Frank Kane
PHONE : 202-693-1999
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Avenues of help suggested
OSHA IDENTIFIES 12,500 WORKPLACES WITH HIGHEST
INJURY AND ILLNESS RATES; URGES ACTION TO LOWER THEM
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has identified 12,500 workplaces with the highest occupational injury and illness rates and is urging the employers to take action to remove hazards causing the high rates.
The employers are those whose establishments reported the highest "lost workday injury and illness" rates to OSHA in a survey of 1997 injury and illness data covering 80,000 workplaces. For every 100 full-time workers, the 12,500 employers had eight or more injuries or illnesses which resulted in lost work days. The national average is 3.3.
"These employers must do better," Secretary of Labor Alexis M. Herman said. "They must do everything possible to reduce the hazards in their workplaces and we're willing to help them. Workers should not have to risk serious injury or illness or their lives for their livelihood."
Charles N. Jeffress, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, is sending letters to the employers, as well as a copy of the injury and illness data for their establishment and a list of the most frequently violated OSHA standards for their particular industry.
"Employees in your business are being injured at a higher rate than in most other businesses in the country," the assistant secretary said in the letter. "I am writing you both to indicate my concern about the high lost work day injury and illness rate at your establishment and to identify ways that you can obtain assistance in addressing the hazards in your workplace."
"OSHA recognizes that an elevated lost work day injury and illness rate does not necessarily indicate a lack of interest in safety and health on the part of your business. Whatever the cause, however, a high rate is costly to your company in both personal and financial terms, " Jeffress added.
Many employers lack expertise in workplace safety and health and welcome assistance by experts in the field. Jeffress said that "you may wish to consider hiring an outside safety and health consultant, talking with your insurance carrier, or contacting the workers' compensation agency in your state for advice."
"An excellent way for employers with 250 or fewer workers to address safety and health is to ask for assistance from OSHA's on-site consultation program," he said. The consultation program is administered by state agencies and operated separately from OSHA's inspection program. The service is free, and there are no fines even if problems are found.
The consultation program can help a small employer identify hazards in the workplace and find effective and economical solutions for eliminating or controlling them. The OSHA consultant also can assist in developing and implementing a safety and health management program for the workplace.
The letter tells the employer where the OSHA consultation program in that state may be contacted.
"I encourage you to consider these suggestions to ensure safe and healthful working conditions in your establishment, " Jeffress concluded. "Please remember, however, that an OSHA inspection may still occur whether or not you use a consultant to assist with your program."
(Editor's Note: A list of the 12,500 employers is available from the OSHA home page on the World Wide Web. Click Here.)
The text of this news release is on the Internet World Wide Web at http://www.osha.gov. Information on this news release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-693-1999.
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