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The Most Common U.S. Workplace Health and Safety Violations of 2018

SafetyCulture News | By | 20 Dec 2018 | 3 minute read

Safety violations

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s (OSHA) Top 10 Cited Violations for 2018 features two new categories that have not been in the top 10 before.

OSHA releases this list every year in the hope that organizations will be more aware of hazards and how to fix them before anyone gets hurt. This list was preliminarily announced at the National Safety Congress and Expo in San Diego.

The top 10 violations seen by OSHA in fiscal year 2018 are:

1. Fall Protection—General Requirements: 7,720 violations

Falls are among the most common causes of serious work related injury and death. Employers must create an environment to prevent falls from overhead platforms, elevated work stations or into holes in the floor and walls.

2. Hazard Communication: 4,552 violations

OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) is based on a simple concept—employees have both a need and a right to know the hazards and characteristics of the chemicals they are exposed to at work. Under this regulation, employers are also required to inform employees about the protective measures available.

3. Scaffolds—General Requirements: 3,336 violations

An estimated 2.3 million construction workers, or 65 percent of the construction industry, work on scaffolds. Protecting workers from scaffold-related accidents may prevent some of the 4,500 injuries and over 60 deaths every year. In fact, most scaffold-related accidents can be controlled by compliance with OSHA standards.

4. Respiratory Protection: 3,118 violations

Compliance with the OSHA Respiratory Protection Standard could avert hundreds of deaths and thousands of illnesses annually. Respirators protect workers against insufficient oxygen environments, harmful dusts, fogs, smokes, mists, gases, vapors, and sprays. These hazards may cause cancer, lung impairment, diseases, or death.

5. Lockout/Tagout: 2,944 violations

Workers servicing or maintaining machines or equipment may be seriously injured or killed if hazardous energy is not properly controlled. Failure to control hazardous energy accounts for nearly 10 percent of serious accidents in many industries. Proper lockout/tagout (LOTO) practices and procedures safeguard workers from these hazardous energy releases.

6. Ladders: 2,812 violations

Falls from portable ladders (step, straight, combination and extension) are one of the leading causes of occupational fatalities and injuries. The requirements found in the 1926.1053(a) standard apply to all ladders as indicated, including job-made ladders.

7. Powered Industrial Trucks: 2,294 violations

There are many types of powered industrial trucks, each with their own operational hazards. Workplace conditions are also factors in hazards commonly associated with powered industrial trucks. Determining the best way to protect workers from injury largely depends on the type of truck operated and the worksite where it is being used. That’s why many commercial vehicles must have an ELD trucking installed, registered and approved by the FMCSA.

8. Fall Protection—Training Requirements: 1,982 violations

OSHA requires employers to train workers about job hazards in a language that they can understand to facilitate a workplace that prevents employees falling from overhead platforms, elevated work stations, or holes in the floor and walls.

9. Machine Guarding: 1,972 violations

Moving machine parts have the potential to cause severe workplace injuries such as crushed fingers or hands, amputations, burns, or blindness. Safeguards are essential for protecting workers from these preventable injuries.

10. Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment—Eye and Face Protection: 1,536 violations

Personal protective equipment (PPE) hazards are addressed in specific standards for the construction industry. Under the Eye and Face Protection requirements, employers must ensure that all affected employees are using the correct eye and face protection when exposed to hazards from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, chemical glass or vapors or potentially dangerous light radiation.

The top 10 violations accounted for an estimated total of 32,266 violations, based on preliminary data for FY 2018. Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment—Eye and Face Equipment and Fall Protection—Training Requirements appeared on the list for the first time.

Far too many preventable injuries and illnesses continue to occur in the workplace, but OSHA has improved conditions over the last four decades. Worker deaths in America are down on average from 38 a day in 1970 to 14 a day.

OSHA’s Top 10 list is more than a summary of the year, it’s a guide to the top 10 areas you should be focusing your own safety training programs on and possibly insight into where your training programs and oversight could improve.

Take time in your planning and development to assess these 10 key issues and make sure your team is well-educated in these areas to avoid being a number on this list.

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