The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the government body responsible for ensuring all employees have safe workplaces. It provides training, offers guidance, and carries out checks to ensure employers meet the safety regulations it sets.
These are the 10 most common workplace safety violations it found in 2019 and the number of violations for each category noted that year:
- Fall Protection (6,010): You do not need to be far off the ground to suffer a severe injury from falling. You could fall into a hole in the ground. There must be safety protection where people are working over 6 feet on a construction site. Guard rails, toe rails and harnesses are some of the appropriate techniques.
- Hazard Communication (3,671): Most workplaces contain some form of dangerous chemical, even if it is only the cleaning products. Chemicals must be labeled, logged and stored in the required way.
- Scaffolding (2,813): Safeguards must be in place on scaffolding above 10 feet. There are specific requirements laid out to prevent the risk of scaffolding slipping or falling over.
- Lockout/Tagout (2,606): Imagine you are maintaining an engine, and it suddenly starts up. The same risk exists with any machinery. There must be safety features in place to avoid machinery accidentally turning on.
- Respiratory Protection (2,450): There is a high risk of inhaling toxic fumes or dust particles in some industries. Employers must provide appropriate respiratory equipment.
- Ladders (2,345): The days of quickly shinning up a poorly balanced step ladder to change a lightbulb are long gone. All types of ladders must be in good condition and secured in the appropriate way, however quick the task.
- Powered Industrial Trucks (2,093): Companies maintain these correctly, and their operators must be trained and certified and adhere to specific standards.
- Fall Protection Training Requirements (1,773): Providing safety equipment is not sufficient. Workers must receive training on how to use it.
- Machine Guarding (1,743): Guards need to be in place to maintain a barrier between machine and operator. These need to keep debris in and body parts out.
- Eye and Face Protection (1,411): People like welders need masks, other people can suffice with safety glasses.
If you suffer an injury while at work, seek legal help to understand your options. Your employer may have violated OSHA standards.