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OSHA announces annual inspection plan for workers in high-hazard areas

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued its annual plan for inspections to help enforce regulations for high-hazard, non-construction workplaces where the highest rates of injury and illness are reported. The announcement came as a part of the Site-Specific Targeting (SST) 2011 program, which will help the agency direct enforcement resources to workplaces with the highest rates of injuries and illnesses.

The program is OSHA's primary inspection plan in workplaces outside the construction industry that have more than 20 workers present. The workplaces identified had above-average injury and illness rates, compared to baseline data compiled in a large survey of 80,000 work sites.

"By focusing our inspection resources on employers in high hazard industries who endanger their employees, we can prevent injuries and illnesses and save lives," said OSHA's Assistant Secretary of Labor David Michaels. "Through the SST program we examine all major aspects of these operations to determine the effectiveness of their safety and health efforts."

The notice has three major differences from the 2010 Site-Specific Targeting program, which include using CY 2009 injury and illness data to compile lists, changing the establishment employee size from 40 to 20, and incorporating an evaluation study to measure the program's impact on future compliance with OSHA standards. 

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