March 15, 2007 --  As many as 14,000 employers across the United States have workplace injury and illness rates above the national average, the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration reported Thursday.

Based on data from more than 80,000 employers nationwide, those with the highest rates reported at least 5.3 injuries or illnesses for every 100 employees in 2005, compared to a national average of 2.4, the agency said.

The injuries or illnesses were severe enough to result in days away from work, restricted work activity, or job transfers, the agency said.

Each of the businesses, which covered a range of industries, was notified by the agency and provided with a list of the most frequently violated safety standards for their industry, along with an offer of free safety and health consultation services.

"Injuries and illnesses are costly to employers in both personal and financial terms, " Edwin Foulke Jr., the agency's assistant secretary of labor, said in a statement. "Our goal is to identify workplaces where injury and illness rates are high and to persuade employers to use resources at their disposal to address these hazards."

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