The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a federal agency responsible for safety and health regulation in the workplace. Being that there are an estimated 154.4 million employees in the U.S. and only 2,200 OSHA inspectors, it’s next to impossible to enforce all of its regulations. However, there are thousands of violations and fines handed down to companies each year for various reasons. In this post, we’re going to take a look at the top 10 OSHA workplace violations.
- Fall Protection – Includes guard rails, catwalks and other safety systems designed to protect employees from elevated falls.
- Hazard Communication – Governs the communication between workers when one or more hazardous materials are present in the workplace.
- Scaffolding – Workplace scaffolding must be designed by a qualified individual, taking into account load-bearing points and weight limitations.
- Respiratory Protection – Employers failing to provide workers with the appropriate respiratory protection (i.e. dust masks, respirators, breathing apparatus, etc.)
- Electrical Wiring – Standards governing the use and modification of electrical wiring in the workplace, including but not limited to the grounding of electrical equipment.
- Powered Industrial Trucks – OSHA standards which govern the use of powered industrial trucks and vehicles, such as forklifts and motorized hand trucks. Any employees who gets behind the wheel of a forklift must first pass a certification course in order to legally operate it.
- Ladders – Basic safety standard regarding the use of ladders by employees. One key point to remember is that all self-supporting portable ladders must be able to support four times the maximum intended load. OSHA also states: “ladder rungs, cleats, and steps shall be parallel, level, and uniformly spaced when the ladder is in position for use.“
- Lockout/Tagout – Standard which sets the minimum performance requirements in the event of a power outage of system failure. When the power grid goes down, for instance, OSHA may require certain industrial businesses to continue operating — only at a lower level.
- General Electrical – Not to be confused with the multinational company GE, this standard governs the safe design of electrical systems in the workplace.
- Machine Guarding – Guarding on machines and equipment which are designed to protect the user against injury.
It’s important to note that these are just a few of the common safety violations reported by OSHA. OSHA has hundreds of standards which U.S. companies are required to abide by; otherwise, they place themselves at risk for being fined or even shut down.