The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said it is notifying the owners and managers of about 15,000 workplaces that their rate of employee injury is exceedingly high compared to other similar companies. OSHA uses data, known as the DART rate (Days Away, Restrictions and Transfers) to determine which businesses have the highest number of illnesses and injury resulting in days away from work, restricted work activities, or job transfers.
OSHA sent each of the 15,000 businesses a standard letter and included a report of the illness and injury data that prompted the notification.
“Receipt of this letter means that workers in that particular establishment are being injured at a higher rate than in most other businesses of its kind in the country,” said David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA.
“Employers whose businesses have injury and illness rates this high need to take immediate steps to protect their workers,” Dr. Michaels added.
The letter recommends a number of steps businesses can follow to bring their safety levels up to standard.
“You may wish to consider hiring an outside safety and health consultant, talking with your insurance carrier, or contacting your state’s workers’ compensation agency for advice. Your workers can help identify hazards and find solutions. In addition, if you have a union at your site, please discuss with them how to reduce hazards in your workplace,” the OSHA letter says, adding that many employers deficient in workplace health and safety often want to learn but don’t know what resources are available to them.
OSHA also offers free safety and health consultation services provided through its state agencies. This program helps employers identify problem areas in the workplace confidentially and without incurring fines, even if problems are found. OSHA agents will recommend effective, economical solutions for improving workplace safety, the letter says.
The workplaces that received the OSHA notification have DART rates more than twice the national average. Employer-reported data submitted by about 100,000 business helped OSHA to determine which employers needed the most improvement.
Although OSHA’s list is a partial record of workplaces in need of health and safety improvements, you can check to see if your employer received an OSHA letter by downloading the agency’s list here.