Safety violations

Mar 05, 2013

While most companies strive to ensure workers are safe while on the job, some do fall short of requirements and fail to adequately protect employees. The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently released the preliminary top 10 violations cited most commonly in 2012.

Most common violations

1. The most frequently cited violation is in regard to fall protection. Workers and their employers must be vigilant about safety when working at heights. Falls can lead to serious injuries, or even death, and with 7,250 total violations this year, this common violation should be a focus area for companies that require employees to work at heights.

2. The number two citation on the list was hazard communication. Workplaces that fail to follow the proper protocol regarding hazard communication risk worker safety, and this common violation was cited 4,696 times in 2012.

3. The third most frequently cited violation was related to scaffolding. When improperly constructed, or if unacceptable materials are used, scaffolding can pose a serious threat to workers. With 3,814 violations, scaffolding violations are not uncommon.

4. Respiratory protection came in as the fourth most commonly violated OSHA rule. Employers are required to put in place engineering mechanisms that diffuse dangerous chemicals, dusts or fumes that may taint the air in a workplace, but if such controls cannot be implemented, workplaces need to provide their employees with respiratory protection. This violation was cited 2,371 times.

5. Rounding out the most commonly cited violations were concerns about ladders. Workers are required to use self-supporting ladders with evenly spaced rungs and parallel steps. Workplaces gathered a total of 2,310 violations in regard to ladders.

Other high-ranking violations

The top five problems give employers insight as to where they can improve, but they should not ignore the other citations that complete the 10 most commonly violated rules. 

6. Machine guarding was cited 2,097 times.

7. Powered industrial trucks were responsible for 1,993 violations.

8. Electrical-wiring methods gathered 1,744 citations.

9. Lockout/tagout violations gathered 1,572 violations.

10. The last issue rounding out the list was in regard to electrical-general requirements with 1,332 citations.

Because safety violations are all too common, it's critical for companies to ensure their employees are following all guidelines and for businesses that hire contractors to ensure their suppliers are following the rules and not putting their workers at risk. By checking on potential suppliers before conducting business with them, companies can ensure contractor qualification and compliance.

Category: safety statistics