The US Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that its 2008 Site-Specific Targeting (SST) plan will focus on approximately 3,800 high-hazard work sites on its primary list for unannounced comprehensive safety inspections over the coming year.

“We will make effective use of our inspection resources to focus our targeted inspection program on those workplaces with the highest injury and illness rates,” said Edwin G. Foulke Jr., assistant secretary of labor for OSHA.“This program emphasizes to employers the importance of our enforcement efforts in ensuring safe working conditions for employees.”

Over the past 10 years, OSHA has used a site-specific targeting inspection program based on injury and illness data. This year’s program (SST-08) was developed using the agency’s data initiative for 2007, which surveyed approximately 80,000 employers to obtain their injury and illness numbers for 2006.

This program will initially cover about 3,800 individual work sites on the primary list that reported 11 or more injuries or illnesses resulting in days away from work, restricted work activity or job transfer for every 100 full-time employees (known as the DART rate). The primary list also will include sites 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 not on the primary list, who reported DART rates between seven and 11 or DAFWII rates between five and nine, will be placed on a secondary list for possible inspection. The national DART rate in 2006 for private industry was 2.3, while the national DAFWII rate was 1.3.

The agency also will randomly select and inspect about 175 work places (with 100 or more employees) across the nation that reported low injury and illness rates for the purpose of reviewing their actual degree of compliance with OSHA requirements. These establishments are selected from those industries with above the national DART and DAFWII rates.

Finally, the agency will include on the primary list some establishments that did not respond to the 2007 data survey.

Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA’s role is to promote the safety and health of America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.