Employers have an obligation to make sure they provide a safe workspace for every worker. Employers also must provide adequate safety equipment and training.
Employers do not always do the right thing of their own accord. As a result, there is a federal agency called the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). It is OSHA's job to set basic minimum safety regulations for workplaces in order to ensure employers do at least the bare minimum in helping to avoid workplace injuries or illnesses.
Employers sometimes do not live up to the legal requirements imposed by OSHA standards. OSHA is supposed to investigate workplaces, but the agency is understaffed and frequently unable to conduct a sufficient number of routine inspections. As a result, violations often come to light only after a worker has been injured or a complaint has been made indicating there is a problem in a particular workplace.
A workers' compensation lawyer knows when OSHA identifies an employer's failure to follow basic safety rules, the regulator may cite the employer and levy a fine. The agency keeps track of the top OSHA standards that result in the issuance of citations. Now, OSHA has revealed a preliminary list of the Top 10 ten violations of worker safety during fiscal year 2014.
Most-Violated OSHA Regulations
The most commonly-violated OSHA standards over the course of 2014 include the following:
- Fall protection requirement violations. A total of 6,143 citations were issued to employers who failed to follow regulations designed to prevent workers from suffering a fall. Falls are one of the "fatal four," or the top four causes of construction site accidents.
- Hazard communications. More than 5,000 citations were issued to employers who failed to provide appropriate hazard communications to workers regarding on-the-job risks.
- Scaffolding violations. There were 4,029 citations issued as a result of scaffolding that did not meet standards. Scaffolding accidents contribute to the high number of workers killed or injured in falls each year in the construction industry.
- Respiratory protection. OSHA identified 3,223 violations that occurred due to employers not providing sufficient respiratory protection in environments where workers inhaled fumes.
- Lockout/ Tag-out violations. There were 2,704 citations issued when employers failed to follow rules for lockouts and tag-outs. Lockouts and tag-outs are designed to prevent accidental exposure to electricity and to prevent machines from turning on when being serviced or cleaned.
- Powered industrial trucks. A total of 2,662 citations were issued when safety procedures weren't followed related to powered industrial trucks.
- Electrical or wiring methods. Electrical work led to 2,490 citations.
- Ladders. A failure to fulfill ladder safety standards led to 2,448 identified violations.
- Machine guarding. 2,200 citations were issued when machine guards weren't utilized when required.
- General electrical requirements. 2,056 citations occurred due to a failure to follow electrical requirements. Electrocution is also one of the fatal four causes of construction injuries.
Employees and employers need to be aware of the tremendous risks associated with unsafe workplaces. Employers should do everything possible to avoid violating safety standards while workers should be on-the-lookout for top areas where employers often fail to provide sufficient protection.
A Scranton accident attorney at O'Malley & Langan can help. Call (866) 326-0100 or visit www.omalleylangan.com today to schedule your free consultation. Serving Lackawanna, Luzerne, Bradford, Schuykill, Lehigh, Monroe, Wyoming and Wayne counties and surrounding areas.