OSHA has released FY 2018’s 10 most frequently cited workplace safety violations. Most workplace safety violations mirrored those of FY 2017. However, a new addition was ranked this year: Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment – Eye and Face Protection.
Patrick Kapust, deputy director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs told Safety+Health about the message he’d like to send to employers regarding the annual OSHA Top 10 Workplace Safety Violations List: “The Top 10 represents the most frequently cited standards, and they are a good place for the employer to start [to] identify hazards in their own workplace. Another good tool that we have available on OSHA’s website is a page that allows users to research the frequently cited OSHA standards by industry. So, while the Top 10 is a good place to start, if you’re really serious about finding the hazards in your workplace, you may want to take the extra step to find out what’s the most hazardous in your industry and what we are seeing in terms of violations in your particular industry.”
Many of these workplace safety violations relate to lack-of or improper training. Employers should make sure they are reviewing their standards to ensure occupational safety. Training records should be audited to ensure that all employees in an organization have received the correct instruction regarding the hazards they will encounter in their workplace. As well, safety rules should be easily visible and enforced. Noncompliance comes at a physical, emotional and monetary cost. Serious injuries, fatalities and occupational disease cause lost workdays and increase workers’ compensation costs.
Here are the top ten most violated workplace safety standards for FY 2018:
Proper scaffolding, harnesses, helmets, and other protection is required for working at height. Another risk: tripping hazards around the workplace. Falls are the leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry.
The standard was updated in 2012 to align with the UN Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. Requirements include signs, labels, safety data sheets, and employee training. Uninformed and unprotected workers exposed to toxic chemicals are at risk of diabetes, allergies, asthma, eczema, cancer, attention deficit disorder, autism, learning difficulties, infertility, depression, chronic fatigue, chemical sensitivities, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, thyroid disease, and inflammatory bowel disease, among many others.
Each scaffold and scaffold component must be capable of supporting, without failure, its own weight and at least four times the maximum intended load applied or transmitted to it. Falls from scaffolds can be fatal or result in traumatic injuries, broken bones, concussions, etc.
This standard’s primary objective is to prevent contamination of breathing air by harmful dusts, fogs, fumes, mists, gases, smokes, sprays, or vapors. When feasible, this is accomplished by engineering controls. When controls are not feasible, or while they are being instituted, respirators are to be used. Improper or nonexistent respiratory protection can lead to cancer, lung impairment, and other diseases.
This standard covers the servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment in which the unexpected energization or start-up of the machines or equipment, or release of stored energy, could harm employees. Finger, hand, and arm amputations; crushed body parts; and struck-by and caught-between injuries can result from the sudden, unexpected start-up of machinery. Lost time due to lockout/tagout-related injuries average 24 days.
The standard states, among other requirements, that the base of a ladder should remain clear and stable. Falls are the most serious risk of improper ladder use.
Requirements relate to fire protection, design, maintenance, and use of fork trucks, tractors, platform lift trucks, motorized hand trucks, and other specialized industrial trucks powered by electric motors or internal combustion engines. Fatalities and serious traumatic injuries can result from powered industrial truck tip-overs and crashes. Approximately 22,400 comp claims are filed nationally every year for powered industrial truck incidents.
This standard states, that the employer shall provide a training program for each employee who might be exposed to fall hazards. The program shall enable each employee to recognize the hazards of falling and shall train each employee in the procedures to be followed in order to minimize these hazards.
One or more methods of machine guarding must be provided to protect the operator and other employees in the machine area from hazards created by point of operation, ingoing nip points, rotating parts, flying chips, and sparks. Finger, hand, and arm amputations; crushed body parts; and struck-by and caught-between injuries can result when machine guarding is absent or inefficient. One-third of machinery-related injuries result in up to 25 lost workdays.
This standard addresses the proper protective equipment necessary for employers exposed to hazards in their eye or face. These hazards can include flying partials, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors or potentially injuries light radiation.
Keeping employees safe and staying OSHA compliant is an important part of an organization’s success. If you’d like to learn more about ensuring employee safety and mitigating risk, contact us here.