Most safety incidents are preventable. However, every seven seconds, a worker is injured on the job. Whether there’s a lack of proper training, or an inefficient hazard management system, there’s always something that could have been done differently to prevent a safety incident. One of our main goals here at Nocti Business Solutions is to assist employers in improving safety in the workplace by ensuring every employee has the skills and training needed to maintain a safe work environment.
OSHA’s Top Ten Safety Violations
Every year, OSHA puts together a list of the top ten safety citations given after worksite inspections. OSHA publishes this list to help alert employers about the common workplace safety hazards and to give employers the chance to address issues before OSHA comes for an inspection.
After some analysis, OSHA’s top ten safety violations can be grouped into four main areas. We will overview each citation and provide some tips on how to avoid them.
Here’s our breakdown of OSHA’s top ten safety violations:
1. Eye, Face, and Respiratory Protection
OSHA requires employers to provide workers with proper eye, face, and respiratory protection. This protects employees against chemical, environmental, radiological, or mechanical hazards. These standards can apply to nearly all workers across all industries.
Eye and face protection
Avoid this citation by providing eye protection for any worker who may be exposed to flying particles, molten metal, chemicals, or harmful light radiation. Eyewear must also have side protection, and contain prescription lenses when necessary.
Respirators are required in any situation where an employee’s health is at risk due to air quality or air contaminants. Avoid this citation by establishing a “written respiratory protection program” that details work-specific procedures for using respirators. Employers are also required to update this document if workplace conditions change. For a full list of what situations require a written procedure, refer to OSHA’s guidelines.
Not only must respiratory procedures be documented, but employees must also be trained in the use of respirators.
2. Heavy Machinery and Equipment
Safety standards are especially important whenever there is heavy equipment involved. Manufacturing equipment and forklifts both appear on OSHA’s list of top ten safety citations.
Machinery and machine guards
OSHA requires one or more methods of machine guards to protect the operator and the surrounding employees. It’s important to note that the machine guard should not be a hazard itself. Other tools required for operating the machine or handling materials should allow for easy handling while protecting the operator from placing a hand in the danger zone. Proper machine guards are especially relevant in the manufacturing industry.
Powered industrial trucks
“Powered industrial trucks” refer specifically to forklifts. Different types of forklifts present different safety challenges. Additionally, OSHA notes that workplace conditions play a big role in maintaining forklift safety. For example, it’s more challenging to ensure pedestrian safety in retail environments than in industrial settings. Forklift safety should be determined on a case by case basis.
Avoid this citation by carefully evaluating each worksite. Determining how to best protect workers will vary depending on the type of forklift and the specific environment in which it operates. An important note: it is a violation of federal law for anyone under 18 to operate a forklift. It is also a violation for anyone over 18 to operate these vehicles without the proper training.
Control of Hazardous Energy
Lockout/tagout (LOTO) procedures for controlling hazardous energy when servicing or maintaining heavy equipment is the fifth most commonly cited OSHA standard. Any piece of heavy equipment must be properly shut down before a repair crew can begin work. Proper systems for disabling heavy machinery and equipment can be found in OSHA’s Lock Out/Tagout Fact Sheet.
Protect your workers and avoid this citation by ensuring that all heavy equipment has a LOTO system in place and that all employees are trained in the use of the system. Inspect the system frequently. If the machines or equipment are not capable of being locked out, employers must then develop and implement an effective tag out program.
3. Chemical Hazard Communication
Quickly and accurately communicating chemical hazards is OSHA’s second most common violation. Employers must develop a Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), label hazardous material, and provide safety data sheets for exposed workers.
To avoid this citation, be sure to read the guidelines on what is classified as a hazard, what information is required on labels, and the sixteen sections of the data sheets. Most importantly, employers are required to train workers on how to read these labels and how to properly communicate when safety incidents occur.
4. Fall Protection
Without a doubt, falls are the most common causes of work related injuries and deaths. In fact, fall related safety issues account for four of the ten items on OSHA’s list. They are:
Fall protection deals specifically with standards for guardrails, safety nets, personal fall arrest systems, warning lines, control zones, and much more. A vital aspect of fall protection is ensuring workers receive the proper training. Employers are required to train workers on the hazards specific to each worksite and to help them learn to recognize and communicate safety issues.
Avoid this citation by verifying compliance with the training requirement. Employers must do this by preparing a written certificate for employees who complete the training. Employees may be retrained in fall protection safety if the employer feels they do not have the knowledge or skill required.
Build A Safer Workforce With NBS
Your employees are your company’s most valuable asset on any worksite. Employees with the proper knowledge and skills improve the safety level of any worksite or environment. Part of our mission at Nocti Business Solutions is to ensure that each worker has the skills and knowledge to maintain a safe work environment. Our skills assessments and pre-employment tests help you pinpoint problem areas and develop training plans to address safety knowledge gaps. Contact us today about how skills assessments can help you build a safer, more productive workplace.