Over 400 companies in trucking or related business may soon get a special visit from OSHA safety inspectors. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration last week notified some 13,000 businesses that their work related accident and illness rates were too high and corrective action would have to be taken.

The national average in 1998 was three injuries or illnesses per 100 workers. These companies has eight or more incidents per 100 workers. Approximately 4,200 work sites with the highest number of incidents will be targeted for comprehensive inspections. The rest have been advised to step up safety programs and even seek assistance from safety consultants or state OSHA agencies.
OSHA will not disclose exactly which of the 13,000 companies are on the priority inspection list. It’s also difficult to determine the precise types of operations included in truck-related classifications. The agency looked at statistics from approzimately 80,000 businesses in 24 Standard Industrial Classification Codes including trucking and courier services (except air), trucking terminal facilities and public warehousing and storage -- all lumped generally as truck-related.
An earlier analysis by the American Trucking Assn’s in fact indicates that occupational injuries and illnesses in the trucking industry are declining. Based on statistics compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics the accident and illness rate for the trucking and warehouse industry was 5.4 per 100,000 workers in 1997 and 4.6 in 1998. Accidents for trucking are generally injuries due to slips, falls, and improper use of equipment. Injuries are due mainly to cumulative trauma disorders such as noise induced hearing loss and repetitive stress injuries. The rates used here are for accidents or illnesses that result in lost workdays, a criteria also used in the OSHA site targeting program.