The United States Department of Labor takes certain steps towards the documentation of safety guidelines. It is an effort to ensure that employers are aware of the potential dangers and implement appropriate safety protocols, as per Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) guidelines.
OSHA carries out site inspections and document their findings. Each year, OSHA publishes their report on the top ten violations that construction companies commit against OSHA’s standards for construction industry.
These are the top ten most frequently cited construction violations observed, as of September 30, 2017.
1) Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501)
The first one on the list, with 6,887 violations, is the lack of fall protection. It is regarded as one of the most common causes of injuries and even death. Proper fall protection must be set in place in the work environment that involves the risk of falling off overhead platforms, elevated work stations, or into holes in the floor and walls.
OSHA outlines that employers use railing and toe-board or a floor hole cover to guard spaces which can cause accidental falls. Use guard rail and toe-board for elevated open sided platform, floor, or runway. Guardrails and toe-boards must be provided for workers working around dangerous machines or equipment, such as a vat of acid or a conveyer belt.
2) Hazard Communication (1910.1200)
Hazard Communication is second on the list with 4,176 safety violations. These violations occur when employers do not train workers to handle chemicals properly, and do not ensure that safety labels can be viewed clearly by workers.
3) Scaffolding (1926.451)
Scaffolding incidents are a result of employee access to scaffolding surfaces and a lack of guardrails. Proper use of safety equipment is necessary. OSHA requires employers comply with the following general requirements.
- Stall load of any scaffold hoist shall not exceed three times its intended load
- Scaffold must operate at a minimum of two times the stall load of the hoist or at the rated load of the hoist.
- Suspension rope and connecting hardware used by adjustable suspension scaffolds shall be capable of supporting six times the intended load or load transmitted to that rope, without failure.
4) Respiratory protection:
Respiratory protection comes in fourth with 3,097 violations. The violations were due to a lack of establishing and maintaining a respiratory inspection plan. Respirators are protection for workers against hazardous environments, as well as dust, smoke, gases, and sprays.
5) Lockout (1910.147)
Lockout refers to practices and procedures that provide safeguarding for workers against unexpected startup of machinery and equipment at a construction site. This is especially true for workers who are involved in the service and maintenance of mechanical and electrical equipment.
Lockout violations are ranked fifth with 2,877 citations.
6) Ladders (1926.1053)
Ladder incidents occur when ladders are not used on stable surfaces or are not replaced if found unsuitable and dangerous for work. There were 2,241 citations of ladder violations in 2017.
7) Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178)
Powered Industrial Truck violations were cited 2,162 times. Common injuries include when forklifts injure employees by accidentally dropping elevated pellets or through improper use of the fork lift.
8) Machine Guarding (1910.212)
Amputations are commonly occurring incidents in the manufacturing industry. It involves moving machine parts, which if left exposed, can cause serious workplace incidents, such as amputations, burns, and crushed bones.
There were 1,933 citations observed for this particular violation.
9) Fall Protection Training Requirements (1926.503)
The ninth on the list with 1,523 violations is due to lack of proper training by employers. Fall incidents are the most frequently observed kind in construction industries, which is why OSHA directs employers to train employees to identify potential fall hazards and what procedures to follow. Fall protection methods include the likes of guardrails, safety nets, and personal fall arrest systems.
10) Electrical – Wiring Methods (1910.305)
Electricity poses as a significant workplace hazard. It exposes the risk of electric shock, electrocution, and fires. This may occur to due to improper installation or incorrect use of electrical equipment. OSHA observed 1,405 violations particular to electrical wiring methods, in 2017.
For example, OSHA requires that all unused openings in cabinets, boxes, and fittings shall be provided with identifiable covers. Pull boxes, junction boxes, and fittings shall be properly grounded, if they use metal covers.
OSHA’s workplace safety guidelines are there for industries to prevent the loss of life and damage of property. Without proper training, employees will continue to make costly mistakes. Certified OSHA training programs can benefit both the employers and employees.