More than 14,000 workplaces received unwelcome letters in the mail last week from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The agency used data from a survey of 80,000 workplaces to identify those sites with injury rates that were more than twice the national average, and notified them with a personal letter. 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 (data here for residential nursing care sites) 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.
The data made available by OSHA includes the company name, address, and industrial classification codes (i.e., SIC and NAICS), but does not provide worksite-specific injury rates. The national average injury and illness rate for 2006 was 2.4 (for days away from work, restricted work activity or job transfer (DART) for every 100 full-time employees.) The 14,000 workplaces identified by OSHA for this notification had rates of 5.3 DART instances per every 100 workers.
OSHA noted that these sites are not necessarily designated for any future inspections, but rather:
“this identification process is meant to raise awareness that injuries and illnesses are high at these facilities…and to persuade employers to use resources at their disposal to address these hazards and reduce occupational injuries and illnesses.”
Based on my review of the 14,000 sites, the employers who received the most letters include: Lowe’s (360 sites received the OSHA letter), United Parcel Service (215 sites), Home Depot (134 sites) and Wal-Mart (98 locations). The following is a breakdown of the list by State and the number of workplaces notified by OSHA:
- Alabama (398), Arkansas (255), Colorado (358), Connecticut (462)
- Delaware (55), DC (5), Florida (989), Georgia (612)
- Idaho (140), Illinois (997), Kansas (280), Louisiana (159)
- Maine (233), Massachusetts (609), Missouri (520)
- Mississippi (251), Montana (93), North Dakota (69)
- Nebraska (198), New Hampshire (159), New Jersey (631)
- New York (929), Ohio (1,265), Oklahoma (318)
- Pennsylvania (1,462), Rhode Island (144), South Dakota (97)
- Texas (1,242), West Virginia (197), Wisconsin (887)