In March, OSHA helped the marketing departments of safety distributors everywhere by fingering approximately 14,000 employers that have injury and illness rates at their work sites higher than average. OSHA sent letters to these employers urging them to seek assistance to help them better protect their employees.

Do these firms know where their nearest safety distributor is?

Note to distributors: The 2007 OSHA “hit list” is available in Excel format on the OSHA Web site — www.osha.gov/as/opa/foia/hot_13.html. Companies are listed in state-by-state alpha order, including street address, zip code, and SIC and NAICS information on type of operation. If you cannot find the list, email djsafe@bellatlantic.net and FDO will send it to you.

In a letter, OSHA explained to these employers the notification was a proactive step to motivate them to take steps now to reduce their rates and improve the safety and health environment in their workplaces.

Establishments with the nation’s high workplace injury and illness rates were identified by OSHA through employer-reported data from a 2006 survey of 80,000 work sites (the survey collected data from calendar year 2005). The workplaces identified had 5.3 or more injuries or illnesses resulting in days away from work, restricted work activity, or job transfer (DART) for every 100 full-time workers. The national average during 2005 was 2.4 DART instances for every 100 workers.

Employers receiving the letters were provided copies of their injury and illness data, along with a list of the most frequently violated OSHA standards for their specific industry. The letter suggested 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.

The list does not designate firms earmarked for any future inspections. An announcement of targeted inspections will be made later this year. Also, the work sites listed are establishments in states covered by federal OSHA; the list does not include employers in the 21 states and Puerto Rico that operate OSHA-approved state plans covering the private sector.

OSHA’s data collection initiative is conducted each year to provide the agency with a clearer picture of those establishments with higher than average injury and illness rates. Information obtained from the survey gives OSHA the opportunity to place inspection resources where they’re needed most and also helps the agency plan outreach and compliance assistance programs where they will be most beneficial.