The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the U.S. Department of Labor chooses October to release its list of the most frequently cited safety violations of the year. As the Department of Labor’s blog says, the list remains largely unchanged from year to year. This list of the 5 most common OSHA violations for 2016, based on more than 32,000 inspections, serves as a reminder to environmental health and safety professionals that workplace safety programs can always be improved.
- Fall Protection. Falling is one of the leading causes of worker deaths on the job. Construction is one of the industries most frequently cited for this type of violation. Safety personnel who want to review fall arrest systems and the principle of scaffolding can take OSHA courses in these subjects for continuing education credits.
- Hazard Communication. Hazard communication involves making sure that chemicals are properly labeled and that workers know the potential safety hazards of the chemicals they come across in the workplace. It also involves communication of physical and health hazards that do not involve chemicals.
- Scaffolds. Along with ladders, scaffolding is one of the areas of concern when addressing fall prevention and fall arrest. Scaffolding injuries most often result from planking breaking or giving way, but injuries can also occur when personnel are struck with falling objects as well as from falls.
- Respiratory Protection. Workers who are exposed on the job to silica, asbestos, and other airborne particles are some of the workers most at risk for long-term illness. Some of these illnesses are irreversible and/or fatal, so proper and consistent use of respiratory protection is essential.
- Lockout / Tagout. Lockout and tagout safety procedures can help prevent workers from being injured by machinery that stops, then suddenly starts up again, injuring workers when their body parts become caught in the machinery. If proper lockout and tagout protocols are followed, workers wouldn’t work on machines unless these machines were fully powered off and couldn’t be suddenly restarted.