The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration publishes a list annually of its top 10 most frequently cited alleged violations. The list changes little from year to year, but it is worthwhile for employers to review the list and consider whether extra attention should be paid to specific potential hazards in the workplace.
The top 10 OSHA standards allegedly violated during fiscal year 2016 are:
1. Fall protection, especially in residential construction
2. Hazard communication, mostly for not implementing a hazcom program or training employees
3. Scaffolding, both in general industry and construction
4. Respiratory protection, especially for employees who may otherwise breathe in asbestos, silica, or other toxic substances
5. Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout)
6. Powered industrial trucks (mainly forklifts), mostly for not training workers on how to drive them safely
7. Ladders, especially in residential construction
8. Machinery and machine guarding, mostly for not installing guards to keep hands and feet away from moving parts
9. Electrical, wiring
10. Electrical, general, mostly for not installing and using electrical equipment properly
According to OSHA, lack of fall protection, lockout/tag out procedures, forklift driver training, and machine guarding are leading causes of worker deaths and serious injuries. Also, OSHA points out that the list of top violations is “far from comprehensive” as its regulations cover a wider range of hazards.
OSHA’s recommendations for creating and upgrading a safety and health program can be found at this link. Developing written safety rules and implementing safety practices and training programs are a good way to reduce employee injuries and to avoid OSHA citations and penalties.