Below average incident rates could spark OSHA visit, expert says
"Has anyone had OSHA come knocking on their organization's door lately? If so, did OSHA mention that the inspection was the result of the National Emphasis Program on recordkeeping?" asked Dan Sulzner, loss prevention consultant for the Missouri-based Midwest Employers Casualty Co. His question was recently posted on the National Workers' Compensation and Disability ConferenceŽ & Expo group site on LinkedIn.
OSHA referred to the program in a recent press release announcing a record fine against a Houston manufacturing company. Goodman Manufacturing Co. was issued 83 willful citations for failing to record and improperly recording work-related injuries and illnesses at the company's Houston air conditioning cooling facility. The proposed penalties total $1.2 million.
OSHA began investigating the company in March after a complaint the company was not properly recording workplace injuries and illnesses, in violation of OSHA regulations.
"The investigation determined that Goodman had either not recorded or failed to properly record the nature and/or duration of 72 percent of employee injuries and illnesses from January 2008 to March 15, 2010, on its log," the release said. "Although Goodman was extremely knowledgeable about OSHA recordkeeping requirements, it made many unsupportable decisions that resulted in the deficiencies found by the agency. With regard to the injuries and illnesses improperly recorded, important information reflecting severity, such as the time away from work, was grossly incorrect."
While the inspection and resulting fines were prompted by a complaint, OSHA used the occasion to remind employers about the program. "Apart from this particular investigation, OSHA has implemented a National Emphasis Program on recordkeeping to assess the accuracy of injury and illness recorded by employers," the release said.
The initiative was launched last year to provide access to companies whose incident rates are low, compared to industry averages, Sulzner said. "So if your organization specializes in machining and your organization's frequency/severity are too low compared to your peers, you may answer that knock on your organization's door to find out that OSHA has stopped by."
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October 14, 2010
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