Each fall, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) releases its annual list of top workplace safety violations. Generally, there is not much variation from year to year, but the figures illustrate the issues employers must continue to address and improve upon. The Top 10 list was presented as part of the National Safety Council’s 2019 Congress and Expo. It is the biggest convention for safety professionals in the world.
The most frequent OSHA violations found as of August 2019 involve:
General fall protection: Among the most frequent violations of the fall protection standard is the failure to provide fall protection for open sides and unprotected edges for residential construction workers, as well as lack of protection on low-slope roofs. This is the ninth year that this violation reached number one.
Hazard communication: The most common violations include failure to provide a written hazard communication notification and safety data sheets to employees.
Scaffolding: Lack of guardrails and improper surface access are the most common violations. Violations were especially found with roofing, siding, masonry, and framing contractors.
Lockout/Tagout: Failure to provide employee training or conduct regular inspections top the list. Unfortunately, many employers had no lockout/tagout energy control procedure at all, and some did not use lockout/tagout devices in vulnerable industries. Sawmills, machine shops, and plastic manufacturers were the most typical offenders.
Respiratory protection: Usually, these violations involve failing to create a written protection program and not providing medical evaluations. The largest number of citations were given to auto body refinishers, painters, wall coverers, and masonry contractors.
Ladders: Improper use, use of the top step, and use of damaged ladders are the biggest violations.
Powered industrial trucks: The most common violations include lack of provision of employee and required three-year refresher training. Other violations involved not removing damaged forklifts from the workplace, not operating the forklift in a safe manner, commonly addressing deficient or damaged forklifts that were not removed from service, and failing to safely operate a forklift. Such violations most often occurred in warehouses, in metal manufacturing, and by framing contractors.
Training for fall protection: The largest gaps in training requirements included not training employees in fall hazard identification and the correct use of fall protection equipment.
Machine guarding: Not guarding points of operation is the most common violation. Other violations include not ensuring guards are well attached to the machinery, poor fan blade guarding, and not properly anchoring fixed machines. Machine guarding violations most often happen in fabricated metal manufacturing and machine shops.
Eye and face protection: Simply not ensuring employees are compliant with appropriate protection is the most frequent violation. Others include toxic exposure to gases or chemicals, as well as failure to provide protection from flying objects. This violation first appeared on the OSHA list in 2018.
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