April 2004--The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will be doing unannounced inspections of about 4,000 high-hazard workplaces this year, the organization announced April 12.

As in the past, OSHA chooses sites to inspect based on how many injuries and illnesses have occurred among workers there. High-hazard workplaces reporting 15 or more injuries or illnesses for every 100 full-time employees will be put on the list most likely to be inspected. The national average for such injuries and illnesses among every 100 full-time employees is between two and three. Some workplaces that did not respond to OSHA collection of injury and illness data will also be included on the list of sites likely to be inspected.

Beginning this year, OSHA will also inspect nursing homes and personal care facilities. These facilities, previously covered under a separate program, will be now be examined by OSHA for the occurrence of slips, trips and falls, improper resident handling, and other dangers to people in their care.

In addition to high-hazard workplaces, OSHA announced it would also inspect around 200 workplaces with normal rates of illnesses and injury to check for compliance with national safety and health requirements.

OSHA enforces the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, which covers over 100 million U.S. workers and over six million employers. In addition to safety inspections, OSHA provides research, educational information and training in occupational safety and health.