Managing Workplace Safety and Health in the Petrochemical Industry

T-HRD-92-1: Published: Oct 2, 1991. Publicly Released: Oct 2, 1991.

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GAO discussed a study on safety and health in the petrochemical industry, focusing on study recommendations to: (1) improve data collection on accidents, injuries, and illnesses and their causes; and (2) require labor-management safety and health committees at all work sites. GAO noted that: (1) combining injury and illness statistics for direct-hire and contract employees would provide a better picture of the extent of problems in industries that have a large proportion of work done by contractors; (2) if employers reported combined injury and illness statistics for individual worksites to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), OSHA could target its inspections to the more hazardous worksites; (3) rather than relying on OSHA enforcement efforts alone, increasing the active involvement of employers and workers would result in improvements in workplace safety and health; (4) over 80 percent of the petrochemical plants studied have effective labor-management safety and health committees that have become an important part of the overall comprehensive safety management system; (5) safety and health programs represent a useful way to extend enforcement agencies' limited resources, can be implemented successfully by employers when required, and appear to have a positive impact on work-related injuries and illnesses; and (6) OSHA specified that work-site programs should include training and education for employees on their safety and health responsibilities.

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