OSHA Violations are Putting Workers at Risk
According to the latest data reported by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 5,333 workers died on the job in 2019. This alarming statistic means that an average of 100 workers dies each week (15 work-related deaths each day). Year after year, the construction industry leads the way in work-related fatalities and accounted for 20% of all work-related deaths in 2019.
Despite OSHA safety mandates, there are still a high number of safety violations on job sites, which have significantly contributed to work-related deaths and injuries. Here's what every worker needs to know.
Latest OSHA Violation Statistics
According to OSHA's latest report, the following were the most-cited violations for the fiscal year 2019. The statistics aren't surprising given the number of workplace injuries and deaths that occur each year. Learn how employers are required to protect their workers from these top on-the-job hazards.
Construction (29 CFR 1926.501)
There were 6,100 violations cited relating to fall protection. Employers are required to carry out the following safety protocols to prevent fall injuries:
- Keep floor holes guarded with railings, toe-boards, or floor hole covers.
- Provide guardrails and toe-boards on elevated and open-sided platforms, floors, and runways.
- Provide workers with guardrails and toe-boards when a worker could potentially fall into a dangerous machine (such as a large chemical vat or a conveyor belt).
- Provide workers with safety harnesses, nets, stair railings, and handrails
Standard, General Industry (29 CFR 1910.1200)
There were 3,671 violations cited relating to hazard communication. OSHA requires the following hazard communications in products to ensure workers are educated about the potential dangers when working with chemicals:
- Chemical manufacturers and importers must evaluate the product's potential hazards and prepare appropriate safety labels and data.
- Employers with hazardous chemicals present in the workplace must supply labels and safety data sheets for workers who will be exposed.
- Employers must train workers on how to handle the chemicals they are working with safely.
General Requirements, Construction (29 CFR 1926.451)
There were 2,813 violations cited relating to scaffolding hazards. Employers are required to carry out the following safety protocols to prevent scaffolding accidents.
- Provide fall protection for each employee on a scaffold more than 10 feet above a lower level.
- Provide fall protection for employees putting up or dismantling scaffolding.
- Supply fall-arrest and guardrail systems for employees working on single and two-point adjustable suspension scaffolds and self-contained scaffolds on rope supports.
- Except for removing substances, workers are not permitted to work on scaffolds covered with ice, snow, or other slippery surfaces.
- Provide access when scaffold platforms are 2 feet over or under the point of entry.
*Lockout/Tagout, General Industry (29 CFR 1910.147)
There were 2,606 OSHA violations relating to the control of hazardous energy. Employers are required to carry out the following safety protocols to prevent injuries.
- Train employees to ensure they understand and can follow protocol relating to hazardous energy control procedures.
- Ensure employees have the knowledge and skills needed for the safe use and removal of energy control machines and devices.
- Employees are prohibited from attempting to restart machines or other equipment that are locked or tagged out.
- Employees with authority to lockout machines and equipment and perform maintenance must be trained on all aspects of handling hazardous energy sources.
*Lockout/Tagout refers to the procedures that keep workers safe from the unexpected startup of machinery or the release of hazardous energy during maintenance or service.
General Industry (29 CFR 1910.134)
There were 2,450 OSHA violations relating to the control of hazardous energy. Employers are required to carry out the following safety protocols to protect employees from harmful dust, fog, fumes, smoke, gas, sprays, and vapors:
- Use appropriate environmental controls to control hazards.
- Provide workers with respirators.
- Have a respiratory protection program in place.
Construction (29 CFR 1926.1053)
There were 2,345 OSHA violations relating to ladders. Employers are required to carry out the following safety protocols to prevent fall injuries:
- Supply the correct type of ladder to fit the job (proper length for ample reach), as well as weight capacity needed.
- Provide ladders that do not have structural damage or defects, including bent rails, missing rungs.
- Provide ladders free of slippery substances such as oil and grease.
- Keep ladders away from power lines or when working with live electrical components.
- Ensure ladders are stable and level on the floor surface
General Industry (29 CFR 1910.178)
There were 2,093 OSHA violations relating to ladders. Employers are required to carry out the following safety protocols regarding powered industrial trucks:
- Provide training on operating powered industrial trucks like forklifts, payloaders, etc.
- Provide proper safety equipment such as hard hats, high visibility vests/jackets, gloves
- Ensure powered industrial trucks are inspected for safety before use.
- Ensure workers operate the powered industrial truck at proper speed limits.
Training Requirements (29 CFR 1926.503)
In addition to the above fall protection violations, there were 1,773 OSHA violations relating to the lack of training for workers on avoiding falls while working on the job. See above for OSHA mandates relating to fall protection for workers.
General Requirements (29 CFR 1910.212)
There were 1,743 OSHA violations relating to machine guarding. Employers are required to carry out the following safety protocols for machine guarding:
- Machine parts, function or process that has the potential to cause an injury must have at least one safeguard in place, such as barrier guards, two-hand tripping devices, and electronic safety devices.
- Employees are to be provided with safety training on the proper use of machinery and machine safeguards.
- Provide workers with proper personal protective gear.
Safety and Health Topics (29 CFR 1926.102)
There were 1,411 OSHA violations relating to eye and face protection. Employers are required to carry out the following safety protocols to prevent eye and face injuries:
- Ensure employees are provided with eye or face protection when exposed to hazards such as flying particles, metals, chemicals, caustic liquids, or vapors.
- Eye protection provided must include side protection against flying objects.
- Employees who wear prescription glasses while working with potential eye hazards must be provided with proper eye protection that can be worn over the prescription glasses that do not affect the prescription eyewear position.
- Eye and face PPE is to be labeled with the identification of the manufacturer.
Injured on the Job? We Are Here to Help.
Being involved in a workplace accident is a scary situation. When it causes a severe injury that requires intense medical care and therapies, it can make the experience much more harrowing. If you've been involved in a workplace accident, our personal injury attorneys are here to help you through a difficult time and give you the support you need to pursue the compensation you deserve.
Contact Rosenberg & Rosenberg, P.A. today at (888) 499-6206 to schedule a free consultation.