The prevalence of workplace accidents is no secret, especially in high-risk industries such as construction, manufacturing and health care. The sad part is that although these occupations are dangerous, most accidents are completely avoidable.
OSHA is responsible for making and enforcing regulations to ensure employee safety, yet every year employers fail to keep them, resulting in harm to workers. The following are the top 10 violations cited in 2017.
1. General requirements to protect against falls
Falls are one of the leading causes of injury in the workplace, so it is no wonder that it is at the top of the list in most common violations. All of the top five citations involved failing to provide a safety system to workers engaged in dangerous tasks six feet or more off the ground. In addition, OSHA added a separate section that fiscal year just on training requirements to prevent falls, which came in ninth place for violations. Whether from a high level or not, falling usually leads to severe injury, if not death.
2. Information on workplace hazards
In second is lack of sufficient communication regarding hazards. This includes training on what they are and how to handle them, along with making the information easily available. Toxic chemicals and materials are a source of workplace diseases, such as cancer, so proper communication is vital in keeping employees healthy.
3. Safety measures for scaffolding
Scaffolding is dangerous equipment, but protective measures can mitigate the high risk. Yet it comes in third because employers did not follow protocol on ensuring safety for those working on a scaffold. These violations affect the construction industry the most.
Other areas with frequent offenses
The rest of the list includes citations in these areas:
- Protection of the respiratory system
- Energy control during mechanical repair and maintenance
- Ladder safety
- Use of powered industrial trucks
- Machine guard use
- Training on fall prevention
- Proper electrical wiring
Violating OSHA regulations leads to preventable injuries, illnesses and death, and employers should be held responsible for their illegal and negligent practices.