Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as part of the U.S. Department of Labor is responsible for setting and enforcing workplace safety standards. At the end of 2012, the administration looked at the most common safety violations occurring in the workplace and have listed the top 10. Among them are faulty ladders, lack of respiratory protection, and violation with electrical systems and wiring.
What Are OSHA Violations?
OSHA sets rules and regulations for safety in the workplace. They have a set of rules that business owners and employees must follow, as they improve their safety and reduce the risk of workplace injuries. There are five categories of violations: Serious violation, non-serious violation, willful violation, repeated violation, and failing to reduce risk for a previous violation. Violations that are deemed “accidental” have a consequence of up to a $7,000 fine, though some employers can get it down to $100 or less if it was an honest oversight. But in the case of willful and repeated violations, after previously being warned, the fine is up to $70,000 per violation.
Top 10 OSHA Violations
The top 10 violations that have been analyzed by OSHA are as follows:
1. Failing to protect a fall – the employees did not have proper protection in the workplace to mitigate falls. There were more than 7,000 violations in 2012.
2. Lack of communication – There were almost 5,000 violations of not communicating workplace hazards for employees. This includes no education on safety, lack of material safety data sheets or improper labeling of hazardous materials.
3. Scaffolding construction – Nearly 4,000 violations occurred because of issues with the company’s scaffolding construction.
4. Lack of respiratory protection – Not protecting employee’s respiratory health was responsible for 2,371 violations.
5. Ladder problems – Over 2,300 violations were issued because of ladder problems, including inappropriate use of ladders, damaged steps and damaged rails.
6. Machine exposures – Point-of-operation exposures on machinery is responsible for just about 3,000 OSHA violations in 2012. It includes not anchoring machinery and employee exposure to blades.
7. Industrial trucks – Companies that used industrial trucks had a total of 1,993 violations in 2012. This is due to inadequate conditions of the trucks when they go in for repair and not having proper operator training.
8. Electrical wiring – A little over 1,300 violations were because of the electrical wiring of buildings, including temporary wiring, not using extension cords in a safe manner and having cables or cords out in the open.
9. Lockout – lockout is the term OSHA uses for not having good worker training, failure to complete inspections and lack of energy control procedures in the workplace.
10. General Electrical – Aside from wiring, there was a general collection of electrical violations, such as exposure to electrocution.
Just in the top 10 violations, there were more than 20,000 violations in one year. This doesn’t even calculate other violations not on this list. This shows how important proper workplace safety is. By being aware of the potential hazards in the workplace and making simple repairs, you reduce workplace accidents, avoid violations (and fines by OSHA) and provide your employees the safe workplace they have a right to. Keep up on your material safety data sheets, be sure everything is safe for workers and train them on workplace safety.
If you are following all the rules set by OSHA and the U.S. Department of Labor, you won’t experience any violations. Not only should employees be trained, but refreshed yearly. Aside from that, protect your business with insurance, including workers’ compensation and liability insurance.