Top 10 OSHA Workplace Violations: Keys to Stay Compliant

OSHA recently announced its list of the most frequent workplace violations at the 2017 National Safety Council Congress and Expo in Indianapolis. 

NSC president and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman said in a press release that "the OSHA Top 10 is more than just a list, it is a blueprint for keeping workers safe and when we all work together to address hazards, we can do the best job possible to ensure employees go home safely each day". 

These thoughts are perfectly in line with our mission at Arbill, of ensuring each employee goes home safely after every shift and with that in mind we have provided the list below along with tips to keep your employees safe.

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1) Fall Protection - General Requirements- Total Violations: 6,072

For the past five years fall protection has reigned as the most common violation on this list. Despite being a leading cause of fatalities and serious injuries proper fall protection is not always equipped at sites. Some of the most common violations included failure to to provide fall protection on low slope roofs, open sidings in residential construction sites and unprotected edges. Employers must protect their workers and take the following steps to ensure their safety:

  • Provide a guard rail and toe-board around every elevated open sided platform, floor and runway, as well as around dangerous machines and equipment.
  • Include safety harness and line, safety nets, stair railings and hand rail 
  • Select and provide required personal protective equipment to workers and train workers about job hazards in a language they can understand.

2) Hazard Communication - Total Violations: 4,176

Chemicals pose not only health hazards, like irritation, sensitization and carcinogenicity, but also physical hazards, such as flammability, corrosion and reactivity. All employers with hazardous chemicals in their workplaces must have labels and safety data sheets for their exposed workers, train them to handle chemicals responsibly, provide the necessary protective equipment to ensure their safety and develop a comprehensive hazard communication program.

3) Scaffolding - Total Violations: 3,288

Scaffolds are often misused with more than 4,500 workers injured every year. These accidents can be caused by misuse (using a scaffold as a ladder) or often it can be due to improper training and deficient or damaged platforms. OSHA has set forth a list of guidelines to help avoid these tragedies which can be found here. It is important to follow OSHA's advice by providing proper fall protection equipment and ensure your employees are properly trained by offering Fall Hazard Awareness programs.

4) Respiratory Protection - Total Violations: 3,097

Respirators protect workers against insufficient oxygen environments, harmful dust, fog, smoke, mist, gas, vapors and sprays. If someone is exposed to these hazards, it can cause cancer, lung impairment, diseases or death. The fit of the respirator around the nose, mouth, or face is crucial to guarding the worker against these hazardous atmospheres. Often respirators may not fit correctly, do not provide the proper protection or employees may not be trained on how to wear the respirators correctly.

5) Lockout/Tagout - Total Violations: 2,877

Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) refers to specific procedures to prevent injuries due to unexpected start up of machinery or release of hazardous energy during maintenance activities. Compliance with the LOTO standard (29 CFR 1910.147: control of hazardous energy) prevents an estimated 120 fatalities and 50,000 injuries each year. Make sure your practices conform to the site lockout procedure to safeguard against injuries such as amputations and death. Encourage your employees to always ask for direction if they are uncertain. 

6) Ladders - Total Violations: 2,241

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. Improper use of scaffolding or other materials as ladder replacements is a common cause of accidents as well. It is important for employees to make sure ladders are in good condition before use, use the correct ladder for the job, never use a metal ladder near electrical wires and never use ladders in place of platforms, skids or braces.

7) Powered Industrial Trucks - Total Violations: 2,162

Tens of thousands of injuries related to powered industrial trucks (PIT), or forklifts, occur each year in workplaces across the U.S. Most PIT incidents involve property damage as well. Unfortunately, most injuries and damages are due to lack of safe operating procedures, deficient safety-rule enforcement and inadequate training. To prevent both injury and liability, make sure your workplace does not fall into one of these three categories.

8) Machine Guarding - Total Violations: 1,933

Moving machine parts create workplace hazards. Machine-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. To avoid these injuries you should never bypass a moving equipment guard and always report damaged or missing guards. Make sure all workers take injury preventative actions until a damaged guard is repaired or missing guard put back into place.

9) Fall Protection - Training Requirements - Total Violations: 1,523

It is important to provide the proper fall protection equipment and additionally provide a robust training program. The program should teach your employees how to identify potential fall hazards and understand what equipment should be worn and that it is worn properly. 

10) Electrical - Wiring Methods - Total Violations: 1,405

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. Before a flexible (extension) cord set is used, instruct all workers to inspect for two things: external defects - like loose parts, missing pins or damage to insulation - and evidence of internal damage - such as a pinched or crushed outer jacket. Replace cords that power "fixed" equipment with appropriate permanent wiring and run extension cords overhead or tape them down to prevent tripping.

It is extremely difficult to keep track of all the safety standards and precautions you need to take. By partnering with Arbill and scheduling a workplace safety site audit today we can help you identify potential deficiencies and design a customized program to help you avoid accidents, keep your employees safe and ensure OSHA compliance. 

Have a Safe Day!