OSHA this week announced that its 2005 site-specific targeting (SST) plan will focus on approximately 4,400 high-hazard work sites for unannounced comprehensive inspections over the coming year.

In the past seven years, OSHA has used a site-specific targeting inspection program based on injury and illness data. This year's program is based on the agency's Data Initiative for 2004, which surveyed approximately 80,000 employers to attain their injury and illness numbers for 2003.

This year's program will initially cover about 4,400 individual work sites on the primary list that reported 12 or more injuries or illnesses resulting in days away from work, restricted work activity, or job transfer for every 100 full-time workers (known as the DART rate).

The primary list will also include sites based on a "Days Away from Work Injury and Illness" (DAFWII) rate of 9 or higher (9 or more cases that involve days away from work per 100 full-time employees).

Employers not on the primary list that reported DART rates of between 7.0 and 12.0, or DAFWII rates of between 5.0 and 9.0, will be placed on a secondary list for possible inspection.

The national incident DART rate in 2003 for private industry was 2.6, while the national incident DAFWII rate was 1.5.

OSHA will again inspect nursing homes and personal care facilities, but only the highest 50 percent rated establishments will be included on the Primary List. Inspections will focus primarily on ergonomic hazards relating to resident handling; exposure to blood and other potentially infectious materials; exposure to tuberculosis; and slips, trips and falls.

The agency will also randomly select and inspect about 400 workplaces (with 75 or more employees) across the nation that reported low injury and illness rates for the purpose of reviewing the actual degree of compliance with OSHA requirements. These establishments are selected from those industries with above the national incident DART and DAFWII rates.

Finally, the agency will include on the primary list some establishments that did not respond to the 2004 data survey.