OSHA notifies employers about injury and illness rates

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has notified more than 13,500 employers nationwide that their injury and illness rates are considerably higher than the national average.

A letter sent this month to those employers explained that the notification was a proactive step to encourage employers to take action now to reduce these rates and improve safety and health conditions in their workplaces.

"Employers whose businesses have injury and illness rates this high need to take immediate steps to protect their workers," said acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Jordan Barab. "Our goal is to make employers aware of their high injury and illness rates and to get them to eliminate hazards in their workplace. To help them in this regard, OSHA offers free assistance programs to help employers better protect the safety and health of their workers."

OSHA identified businesses with the nation's highest rates of workplace injuries and illnesses through employer-reported data from a 2008 survey of 80,000 worksites (this survey collected injury and illness data for calendar year 2007). Workplaces receiving notifications had rates more than twice the national average among all U.S. workplaces for injuries resulting in days away from work, restricted work activity, or job transfer.

Employers receiving the letters were also 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 these numbers by suggesting, among other things, the use of free OSHA safety and health consultation services provided through the states, state workers' compensation agencies, insurance carriers, or outside safety and health consultants.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their workers. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

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