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OSHA Issues Alert to 14,000 Employers with Elevated Illness and Injury Rates

By Robert M. Wood
  • March 4, 2003

On February 24, 2003, OSHA announced it would be contacting over 14,000 employers to alert them that their recent injury and illness rates are above the national average and suggesting they act to decrease the hazards faced by their employees. Although this is not the first time OSHA has issued such "alerts," it is the first time the Agency has included construction industry employers in the notifications.

The list of employers chosen to receive this letter was drawn from the results of OSHA's illness and injury survey for 2001. The survey covered 93,000 employers, including, for the first time, 13,000 construction companies. Notices were sent to all employers reporting six or more lost workday injuries or illnesses per 100 employees in 2001. The national average for the year was just under three lost workdays. The alert to each company, which is signed by OSHA Administrator John Henshaw, includes the company's actual injury and illness statistics and explains:

"This means employees in your business are being injured at a higher rate than in most other businesses in the country. I am writing you to indicate my concern about the high LWDII [lost work day illness and injury] rate at your establishment and to identify ways that you can obtain assistance in addressing hazards in your workplace.

The Administrator offers suggestions for improving the company's rates and includes a list of standards most frequently violated by the relevant industry. OSHA's official press release regarding this development includes the following quote from Administrator Henshaw:

Armed with this information, we'll not only be able to place our inspection resources where they're most needed, but we can also use the information to plan outreach and compliance assistance programs where they will benefit the most.

The italicized part of this comment refers to OSHA's practice of conducting what it terms "programmed inspections." This means the Agency will select an undisclosed number of employers from the 14,000 who will be given a high priority for inspection in the upcoming year.

The complete list can be viewed at OSHA's website. The establishments are grouped by state and listed alphabetically. Because the survey was a federal OSHA project, establishments in states that have opted to implement state enforcement programs, commonly called "state-plan states," were not included in the survey and do not appear on the list. The SIC (Standard Industrial Classification) codes for the establishments included in the survey are set out in the table below:

15 - 17 Construction

20 - 39 Manufacturing

018 Horticultural Specialties

021 Livestock (except Dairy and Poultry)

024 Dairy Farms

025 Poultry and Eggs

027 Animal Specialties

0291 General Farms, primarily animal

0783 Ornamental Shrub and Tree Services

421 Trucking and Courier Services (except Air)

422 Public Warehousing and Storage

423 Trucking Terminal Facilities

4311 U.S. Postal Service

449 Water Transportation Services

451 Air Transportation, Scheduled

458 Airports, Flying Fields, and Services

4783 Packing and Crating

4953 Refuse Systems

501 Motor Vehicles and Motor Vehicle Parts and Supplies

503 Lumber and Other Construction Materials

505 Metals and Minerals (except Petroleum)

5093 Scrap and Waste Materials

514 Groceries and Related Products

518 Beer, Wine, and Distilled Beverages

5211 Lumber and Other Building Materials

5311 Department Stores

805 Nursing and Personal Care Facilities

806 Hospitals

If you have any questions regarding this significant development, please contact the Jackson Lewis OSHA Practice Group.

©2003 Jackson Lewis P.C. This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between Jackson Lewis and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material. This material may be considered attorney advertising in some jurisdictions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Reproduction of this material in whole or in part is prohibited without the express prior written consent of Jackson Lewis P.C., a law firm that built its reputation on providing workplace law representation to management. Founded in 1958, the firm has grown to more than 900 attorneys in major cities nationwide serving clients across a wide range of practices and industries including government relations, healthcare and sports law. More information about Jackson Lewis can be found at www.jacksonlewis.com.

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