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OSHA announces plan to address high-hazard workplace risks

We frequently write about numerous hazards which plague the American workforce. While workers can suffer injuries and occupational illnesses in virtually every job imaginable, some industries are more hazardous than others. As a result, highly dangerous industries that regularly report high rates of work-related injuries and illnesses must be more carefully and broadly regulated than very low-risk industries.

Most recently, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has acknowledged this reality by pledging to direct an increasing number of resources towards inspecting particularly high-hazard workplaces. It pledged this necessary shift while unveiling its 2014 Site-Specific Targeting (SST) inspection plan.

Specifically, the high-hazard workplaces OSHA will be paying greater attention to in the coming year under the new SST plan are those that employ 20 or more workers. OSHA determines which workplaces are considered to be most in need of inspections after analyzing a survey of more than 80,000 workplaces in high-hazard industries nationwide.

The Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health recently explained that, “By focusing our inspection resources on employers in high hazard industries who endanger their employees, we can prevent injuries and illnesses and save lives.”

At the same time, OSHA is trying to bring a critical eye to the effectiveness of the SST program. This coming year, it will evaluate this important indicator through analysis of 1,260 business establishments selected at random. By committing to both inspect high-hazard workplaces and evaluate the effectiveness of its own inspection program, OSHA is investing a welcome amount of attention and resources on the safety of the nation’s most hazardous workplaces.

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration, “OSHA issues 2014 inspection plan to reduce injuries and illnesses at high-hazard workplaces,” Feb. 26, 2014

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