Year-long emphasis on the most hazardous industries and most common areas of work fatalities has driven violation citations to an all-time high and workplace injuries and fatalities to a record low, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration has announced.
In its FY 2008 Operating Plan, OSHA identified industries and activities with high injury/illness rates to target outreach, education and enforcement. The targeted industries were landscaping; oil and gas field services; residential building construction; commercial and institution building construction; and highway, street, and bridge construction. Targeted fatality hazards were fall from elevation, trenching, struck by, powered industrial vehicle, and electrical.
Injury and Illness Rates
The Total Recordable and Days Away/Restricted case rates continued to decline in 2008, indicating that fewer American employees encountered safety or health hazards resulting in serious injuries or illnesses. The rates for calendar year 2007, reported on October 23, 2008, were the lowest ever reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
OSHA continues to aggressively pursue the reduction of workplace fatalities. In calendar year 2007, the rate of fatal work injuries was 3.7 fatalities per 100,000 employees, down from 4.0 the previous year. This preliminary rate is the all-time lowest rate since the BLS instituted its Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 1992.
OSHA continued to exceed enforcement goals during Fiscal Year (FY) 2008, resulting in an unprecedented 80 percent of all violations issued being in the most serious categories.
Nationwide, OSHA logged 87,687 violations of its standards and regulations for worker safety and health, including 67,052 cited as "serious." Additionally, in FY 2008, OSHA conducted almost 39,000 worksite inspections, surpassing the agency's goal for the year by 2.4 percent.
OSHA continues to broaden its efforts to reach at-risk Hispanic employees with targeted initiatives that include Spanish-language publications available in print and on OSHA's website, along with other compliance assistance information. Additionally, OSHA's Local Emphasis Programs (LEPs) target industries in which Hispanic employees are significantly represented. As a result, the fatality rate for Hispanic workers has decreased by 12% since 2002.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, 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, including a fact sheet about OSHA's enforcement results, visit www.osha.gov.