It’s an unfortunate reality that work can be a dangerous place. While accidents do happen, it becomes negligence when the employer does not follow federal safety regulations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigates reports of safety violations and issues fines to employers who violate the rules. It also continuously tracks common violations in the workplace, which can alert employers to recognize these violations and address them. Employees can also request the employer to address them and report those who do not act.
OSHA’s top 10 violations
Ideally, employers can address these violations before getting fined during a remote inspection or facing an injury claim. They can do this by revising employee training or rectifying the danger by adding the appropriate safety equipment. Employers should regularly review work processes and safety protocols to recognize hazards or violations even if OSHA does not visit the worksite.
- Fall protection: The top violation for the 11th straight year was 5,271 cited violations for lack of protection, unprotected edges and other hazards. Construction sites are the most common location.
- Respiratory protection: There were 2,521 violations, often for lack of protection, failure to perform fit testing of gear and lack of medical evaluation. The most common violators were auto body refinishing shops, wall covering contractors, painting companies, and masonry contractors.
- Ladders: There were 2,018 violations, often for structurally deficient equipment, lack of required side rails, or using them for jobs they were not designed for. The most common violators were construction contractors.
- Scaffolds: There were 1,943 citations, often for improper decking, failing to provide adequate support or missing guard rails. Construction contractors were the most common violators.
- Hazard communication: There were 1,939 violations, often for a lack of safety programs with data safety sheets and a lack of training for using and maintaining the sheets.
- Lockout or tagout: There were 1,670 violations. This is a safety protocol for workers working with electricity, chemicals, machines, hydraulics, pneumatics or thermal hazards. Common citations were lack of training, lack of energy control procedure, and failure to use lockout or tagout equipment. Sawmills, plastic manufacturers and machine shops were most often cited.
- Fall protection training: There were 1,660 violations, often for employees’ inability to recall training and employers’ failure to retrain.
- Eye and face protection: There were 1,451 violations. Falling under the category of personal protection and life-saving equipment, these are protections against flying objects, molten metal, caustic liquids, liquid chemicals, and acids.
- Powered industrial trucks: There were 1,404 violations involving forklifts and motorized hand trucks, often for unsafe operation, no equipment evaluation or lack of training.
- Machine guarding: There were 1,105 citations for missing or unused physical guards that are part of a machine. The most common worksite was a machine shop.
Hold the negligent accountable
Inaction by the employer or reckless endangerment by coworkers can lead to victims or their families filing a personal injury lawsuit. Those with questions about an injury can speak with a personal injury attorney who handles workplace injuries.