Hazardous work sites: is your organization in the top 14,000?

April 11th, 2007 by Julie Ferguson

Last month, more than 14,000 employers got missives from OSHA informing them that their workplaces were at least twice as hazardous as that of the average U.S. workplace. In 2005, the average workplace has a rate of 2.4 injuries or illnesses that resulted in days away from work for every 100 workers. In contrast, employers who got OSHA notices had rates of 5.3 or higher. Rankings were determined through employer-reported data secured from a survey OSHA conducted in 2006 relative to 2005 work-related injury and illness occurrences.
Included in this correspondence, employers also received their injury and illness data and a list of the most frequently violated OSHA standards for their specific industry. OSHA says that the list is meant to raise awareness and is not an indication that a workplace is targeted for an inspection.
You can download a zip file of the list of 14,000 from OSHA and scan by state. Or you can get an Excel spreadsheet of the file from a posting on The Pump Handle, where Celeste Monforton of has taken a closer look at the list, offering some observations and breakdowns by state:

“Recipients of the OSHA letter include: Lowe’s, Home Depot, United Parcel Service, Wal-Mart, Harley-Davidson, and two Jelly Belly candy factories, with the highest percentage of letters (23 percent) sent to residential nursing care facilities. More than 3,200 employers in 3-digit SIC code 805 or NAICS 623 receive the notice from OSHA … including 67 sites operated by Beverly Enterprises, 46 Kindred Care sites, and 32 Evangelical Lutheran sites. Among all workplaces, employers in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Texas received the most letters; none were sent to worksites in the 21 States that operate their own OSHA State Program.”

One of the people commenting on this post suggests that the list shows that the bulk of injuries “don’t come from the so-called ‘low road’ employers, they come from the median employers, maybe even from employers which pay better wages benefits and provide better working conditions than the median in their sector.”