OSHA has announced its new site-specific targeting plan that will zero in on about 3,200 high-hazard work sites for unannounced comprehensive safety and health inspections in the coming year.

For five straight years now, OSHA has rolled out a plan of targeted inspections based on injury and illness data. This year's program stems from OSHA's Data Initiative for 2002, which surveyed approximately 95,000 employers to attain their injury and illness data for 2001.

(The construction industry was included in the survey for the first time, but it is not included in the targeting program.)

This year's program is effective June 16 and will initially cover about 3,200 individual work sites on the primary list that reported 14.0 or more injuries or illnesses resulting in lost work days or restricted activity for every 100 full-time workers (known as the LWDII rate).

For the first time, sites will also be targeted based on a "Days Away from Work Injury and Illness" (DAFWII) rate of nine or higher (nine or more cases that involve days away from work per 100 full-time employees). Employers who reported LWDII rates of between 8.0 and 14.0, or DAFWII rates of between 4.0 and 9.0, will be placed on a secondary list for possible inspection.

The average LWDII rate in 2001 for private industry in the nation was 2.8; the average DAFWII rate was 1.7.

Like last year, OSHA will not inspect nursing homes or personal care facilities under this program. Those inspections will continue to be covered under a separate National Emphasis Program that addresses specific hazards for the industry, including ergonomics (primarily back injuries from resident handling), bloodborne pathogens/tuberculosis and slips, trips and falls.

Finally, OSHA will again randomly select and inspect about 200 workplaces across the nation that reported low injury and illness rates to review the actual degree of compliance with OSHA requirements. These establishments are selected from industries with above average LWDII and DAFWII rates.