A February 24, 2014 article by Cintas Corporation examined the top ten violations most cited by OSHA inspectors. OSHA stands for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and this agency was formed in 1971. OSHA’s mission is to “assure safe and healthful working conditions for men and women.” In order to accomplish this, OSHA creates safe working standards and enforces these standards on certain industries. OSHA also provides training and education to workers and employers about remaining safe on the jobsite.
According to the article, the number of citations issued by OSHA increased by 45 percent in 2013. OSHA citations are issued when an inspection of the workplace or jobsite reveals violations of safety rules and regulations. These citations can carry with them significant fines and penalties. The top ten most frequently cited violations include:
- Fall protection: Employers must ensure employees working at certain heights wear fall protection equipment.
- Hazard communication: Employers must provide accessible information concerning the hazards posed by certain chemicals, as well as information on how employees can protect themselves.
- Scaffolding: Any scaffolding used on a work site must meet certain requirements.
- Respiratory protection: Employers must provide their employees with suitable respiratory devices when the employees work around contaminated air (such as dust, fog, fumes, and vapors).
- Electrical (wiring): Employers must follow certain regulations when installing and grounding electrical wiring.
- Powered industrial trucks: Fork trucks, tractors, and other specialized industrial trucks must meet certain regulations governing their construction and design.
- Ladders: Ladders used on worksites must be capable of supporting certain loads, the steps of ladders must be spaced appropriately, and the ladders must meet other requirements in order to be used.
- Lockout/tagout: Lockout/tagout procedures are designed to protect workers who must service machines or electrical equipment. The procedures are designed to eliminate any risk that the machine would suddenly and unexpectedly become activated while being serviced, or that a worker might be hurt by an energy source while working on the machine.
- Electrical (systems design): OSHA has promulgated other regulations governing electrical connections, how equipment must be mounted and cooled, how splices are to be made, and how electric equipment should be marked or identified.
- Machine guarding: Barriers and other protective devices are to be used to protect workers who use machines from hazards created by rotating parts, flying chips, and sparks.
Some employers may try to cut corners and avoid following OSHA’s regulations in an effort to cut down on costs or to hurry the job along. It must be remembered that OSHA enforces its regulations so that workers have a safe working environment in which as many hazards as possible are eliminated. Employers who violate OSHA regulations may not just face citations and fines from OSHA; if someone is injured because they did not follow OSHA regulations, the employer or contractor may be sued and the injured person can recover monetary damages for medical bills and other costs he or she incurred. If you have been injured on the jobsite because of an OSHA violation, contact us today at (508) 755-7535 for a free consultation.