The Occupational Health and Safety Administration released its top ten list of most cited standards/top ten violations for fiscal year 2013 in October of last year. The list was a result of a number of site inspections the agency performed during the period between October 1, 2012 and September 30, 2013. Found below are the standards included in the top ten list:
1926.501 – Fall Protection. Fall protection (e.g. providing PPEs) has always ranked first or second on OSHA’s top ten list of most violated standards. According to Safety Services Company’s comparative analysis on the total number of violations against the standard, 8,241 violations pertaining to the standard were committed this year as compared to last year (7,250).
1910.1200 – Hazard Communication. OSHA’s HazCom standard has recently been aligned with the United Nation’s Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. Ranking second on OSHA’s list of most violated standards, examples of violations committed against the standard is chemical mislabeling and mishandling. (Check out our previous blog post titled OSHA Hazard Communication Goes GHS to see an example of a HazCom violation and to understand how OSHA’s GHS prevents similar violations.)
1926.451 – Scaffolding. Scaffolding violations often involve failure to provide workers the right kind of scaffolds and failure to replace wire ropes that are used to link suspension scaffolds to foundations.
1910.134 – Respiratory Protection. Workers from the Construction and General industries get exposed to a wide host of materials that could be harmful to them such as silica, asbestos, and hydrogen sulfide. OSHA has established Permissible Exposure Limits (PELS) for employers to observe to address occupational exposure to such substances. Aside from observing the PELs, employers are required to provide personal protective equipment like respirators to workers.
However, OSHA recognizes the fact that some of its PELs are dated (in fact, over 40 years old) and prescribes recommended PELs based on the ones observed by regional OSHAs like the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH). The NIOSH is also currently developing recommended exposure limits (RELs) for exposure to certain chemicals like 1-BP.
1910.305 – Electrical, Wiring Methods. Properly grounding electrical equipment, installing the right kinds of insulation and wiring are one of the conditions required by this standard. Safety Services Company noted that 3,452 violations were committed against this standard last year.
1910.178 – Powered Industrial Trucks. Cranes and hand trucks often cause struck-by and caught-in between hazards. OSHA requires employers to provide workers adequate training on operating, inspecting and maintaining these trucks to ensure everyone’s safety at the worksite.
1926.1053 – Ladders. OSHA also requires employers to provide workers the right kind of ladders to use at the construction site. The right ladders provide workers support and ensure their safe ascend to scaffolds when working at heights.
1910.147 – Lockout/Tagout. 3,254 employers violated OSHA’s recommendation for implementing a lockout/tagout program last year. A lockout/tagout program is a workplace essential because they prevent accidents linked to electrocution and caught-in between hazards.
1910.303 – Electrical, General Requirements. Electrocution makes up one-fourth of OSHA’s Fatal Four. Every year, 66 percent of workers’ fatalities are linked to electrical accidents.
1910.212 – Machine Guarding. Machine guarding violations often result to caught-in between accidents which in turn leads to lost limbs and even death. Sharp objects and conveyor belts are examples of machines parts that need machine guarding.
Employers are required by the OSH Act o 1970 to provide workers OSHA 30 or OSHA 10 hour training to enable them and help ensure their safety. Otherwise, unnecessary accidents linked to the standards above are bound to continue and claim workers’ lives.
OSHA offers compliance assistance to companies who need help in resolving their citations. Companies who want to generate a report on the most cited federal or state OSHA standards can visit OSHA’s page for Frequently Cited OSHA Standards to get the report. Companies only need to enter their North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code and their number of employees to create the report.