The Top 10 Most Frequently Cited OSHA Workplace Safety Violations

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On average, OSHA issues around 40,000 violations a year. These violations have the potential to be very costly to the lives of your employees and the livelihood of your business.

Failing to follow something as simple as OSHA's workplace safety posting requirements could result in a "posting violation"� costing you up to $7,000 per violation. In a more extreme safety compliance case, if an employer is convicted in a criminal proceeding for committing a "willful violation"� that resulted in death, the penalties could cost as much as $500,000 (not to mention the possibility of a prison term of up to three years).

By adhering to OSHA's safety compliance standards, you're doing everything possible to protect your employees and your business.

We're highlighting The Top 10 Most Frequently Cited OSHA Workplace Safety Violations from 2012 (2013 numbers aren't in yet, of course) today to show you what areas of workplace safety compliance need more attention from facility owners, plant managers and safety engineers. This list changes very little from year to year, meaning the time is now to use this list as a guide to improve workplace safety in your facility.

1. Fall Protection -- Total Violations: 7,250

Although falls are a leading cause of fatalities and serious injuries in construction, proper fall protection is not always equipped at sites. Employers must protect workers from falling off overhead platforms, elevated workstations or into holes in the floor and walls.

2. Hazard Communication -- Total Violations: 4,696

All employers with hazardous chemicals in their workplaces must have labels and safety data sheets for their exposed workers and train them to handle the chemicals responsibly.

3. Scaffolding -- Total Violations: 3,814

Scaffolds are often misused. For example, they are sometimes used as a ladder, which has resulted in rather serious workplace injuries. Scaffolding must have the correct structure (height, base, guiderails, etc.) and be used under the correct supervision, in the right conditions (cannot be used in the rain, wind, etc.).

4. Respiratory Protection -- Total Violations: 2,371

Respirators protect workers against insufficient oxygen environments, harmful dusts, fogs, smokes, mists, gases, vapors and sprays. If someone is exposed to these hazards, it could cause cancer, lung impairment, diseases or death.

5. Ladders -- Total Violations: 2,310

Ladder accidents happen when workers select the wrong ladder for the job, don't inspect it for missing or broken pieces or get careless about how they use it. OSHA ladder regulations specify everything from how far apart ladder rungs should be to "do's and don'ts"� when working on one.

6. Machine Guarding -- Total Violations: 2,097

Moving machine parts create workplace hazards. Machinery-related injuries are particularly horrifying, making machine guarding an absolute must. Machine guarding protects employees from nip points, rotating parts, flying chips and sparks with barrier guards, light curtains and two-hand operating devices.

7. Powered Industrial Trucks -- Total Violations: 1,993

Forklifts or lift trucks present a lot of operating hazards, depending on their design. Employers must ensure each powered industrial truck operator is competent to operate one safely, with successful completion of training.

8. Electrical, Wiring Methods -- Total Violations: 1,744

Wires must be kept away from hazardous areas that could cause harm, so you must secure all wires to keep them safe with the ground of electrical equipment, wiring and insulation. There are also requirements regarding temporary wiring and splicing of flexible cables and cords.

9. Lockout/Tagout -- Total Violations: 1,572

Workers servicing or maintaining machines may be seriously injured or killed if hazardous energy is not properly controled. Proper lockout/tagout practices and procedures safeguard workers from the release of hazardous energy.

10. Electrical, General Requirements -- Total Violations: 1,332

General electrical violations stem from failure to install and use equipment according to factory instructions, to guard electrical equipment, to identify disconnecting means and circuits and to keep workspaces clear. All safety requirements must be met and hazardous areas marked.

To learn more about what you should do to make sure your facility is in compliance with OSHA regulations, schedule a site audit to determine where improvements in workplace safety should be made.

Ready to speak to a Safety Specialist at Arbill to learn more about site audits so you're facility is in compliance with OSHA regulations? Call 800-523-5367 or click on the button below to speak with a safety specialist at Arbill.