2018 OSHA’s Top 10 Most Cited Violations - Part 1

Nov 06, 2018

At the 2018 National Safety Congress, OSHA’s Top 10 Most Cited Violations of the year were announced.

OSHA publishes this list to alert employers about these commonly cited standards, so they can take steps to find and fix recognized hazards addressed in these and other standards before OSHA shows up.

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) began in 1970 "to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance."

Over the years, the cost of workplace safety violations has increased by over 78%, making it essential for all employees, contractors, and stakeholders to be aware of safety standards and changes that can help prevent violations.

Far too many preventable injuries and illnesses occur in the workplace. While some violations tend to make the list year after year, there are a few changes. Fall protection continues to remain at the top of the list as it has for the past 5 years, further reiterating the importance of fall protection training and safety.

The following is a list is the first half of the top 10 most frequently cited standards following inspections of worksites by federal OSHA, along with safety tips and various ways to protect workers as stated by osha.gov.

1.      Fall Protection

To prevent employees from being injured from falls, employers must:

  • Guard every floor hole into which a worker can accidentally walk (using a railing and toe-board or a floor hole cover).
  • Provide a guard rail and toe-board around every elevated open sided platform, floor or runway.
  • Regardless of height, if a worker can fall into or onto dangerous machines or equipment (such as a vat of acid or a conveyor belt) employers must provide guardrails and toe-boards to prevent workers from falling and getting injured.
  • Other means of fall protection that may be required on certain jobs include safety harness and line, safety nets, stair railings and hand rails.

OSHA requires employers to:

  • Provide working conditions that are free of known dangers.
  • Keep floors in work areas in a clean and, so far as possible, a dry condition.
  • Select and provide required personal protective equipment at no cost to workers.
  • Train workers about job hazards in a language that they can understand.

 

2.      Hazard Communication

In order to ensure chemical safety in the workplace, information about the identities and hazards of the chemicals must be available and understandable to workers. OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires the development and dissemination of such information:

  • Chemical manufacturers and importers are required to evaluate the hazards of the chemicals they produce or import, and prepare labels and safety data sheets to convey the hazard information to their downstream customers;
  • All employers with hazardous chemicals in their workplaces must have labels and safety data sheets for their exposed workers, and train them to handle the chemicals appropriately

 

3.      Scaffolding - General Requirements

An estimated 2.3 million construction workers, or 65 percent of the construction industry, work on scaffolds. Protecting these workers from scaffold-related accidents may prevent some of the 4,500 injuries and over 60 deaths every year (Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 2003 and 2004 data for the private sector), at a savings for American employers of $90 million in workdays not lost.

In a recent BLS study, 72 percent of workers injured in scaffold accidents attributed the accident either to the planking or support giving way, or to the employee slipping or being struck by a falling object. All of these accidents can be controlled by compliance with OSHA standards.

 

4.      Respiratory Protection

OSHA's respirator standard requires employers to establish and maintain an effective respiratory protection program when employees must wear respirators to protect against workplace hazards. Different hazards require different respirators, and employees are responsible for wearing the appropriate respirator and complying with the respiratory protection program.

The standard contains requirements for program administration, worksite-specific procedures, respirator selection, employee training, fit testing, medical evaluation, and respirator use, cleaning, maintenance, and repair.

Employees must use respirators while effective engineering controls, if they are feasible, are being installed. If engineering controls are not feasible, employers must provide respirators and employees must wear them when necessary to protect their health. The employee's equipment must be properly selected, used, and maintained for a particular work environment and contaminant. In addition, employers must train employees in all aspects of the respiratory protection program.

 

5.      Control of Hazardous Energy - Lockout/Tagout

Failure to control hazardous energy accounts for nearly 10 percent of the serious accidents in many industries. Proper lockout/tagout (LOTO) practices and procedures safeguard workers from hazardous energy releases. OSHA's Lockout/Tagout Fact Sheet describes the practices and procedures necessary to disable machinery or equipment to prevent hazardous energy release.

The OSHA standard for The Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout) (29 CFR 1910.147) for general industry outlines measures for controlling different types of hazardous energy. The LOTO standard establishes the employer's responsibility to protect workers from hazardous energy. Employers are also required to train each worker to ensure that they know, understand, and are able to follow the applicable provisions of the hazardous energy control procedures:

  • Proper lockout/tagout (LOTO) practices and procedures safeguard workers from the release of hazardous energy. The OSHA standard for The Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout) (29 CFR 1910.147) for general industry, outlines specific action and procedures for addressing and controlling hazardous energy during servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment. Employers are also required to train each worker to ensure that they know, understand, and are able to follow the applicable provisions of the hazardous energy control procedures. Workers must be trained in the purpose and function of the energy control program and have the knowledge and skills required for the safe application, usage and removal of the energy control devices.
  • All employees who work in an area where energy control procedure(s) are utilized need to be instructed in the purpose and use of the energy control procedure(s), especially prohibition against attempting to restart or reenergize machines or other equipment that are locked or tagged out.
  • All employees who are authorized to lockout machines or equipment and perform the service and maintenance operations need to be trained in recognition of applicable hazardous energy sources in the workplace, the type and magnitude of energy found in the workplace, and the means and methods of isolating and/or controlling the energy.
  • Specific procedures and limitations relating to tagout systems where they are allowed.
  • Retraining of all employees to maintain proficiency or introduce new or changed control methods.

 

How can businesses better prepare themselves to reduce and alleviate these top 5 citations?

Ensuring that everyone who comes on site is safe, trained, and qualified to work is one of the best ways to reduce the chance of possible citations and OSHA violations. Many companies choose to outsource prequalification of contractors and suppliers to alleviate some of the administrative burden and guarantee that all contractors are held to the same standard.

For more than a dozen years, BROWZ has worked with the world’s largest organizations across more than 17 industries to implement supply chain prequalification and compliance programs.

BROWZ offers an efficient means to exchange and evaluate supplier data. Your entire business will be able to access a single repository of compliance information for all suppliers and contractors to help you assess your risk exposure, monitor compliance, and make informed supply chain decisions.

What’s more, we will independently assess the data submitted, and proactively work with your suppliers to update their information, as needed. To learn more about BROWZ and request a demo, click here.