Table of Contents
- Machinery and Machine Guarding
- Powered Industrial Trucks
- Eye and Face Protection
- Control of Hazardous Energy
- Fall Protection Training
- Hazard Communication
- Respiratory Protection
- Fall Protection
Worker safety is always paramount, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) can impose financial penalties on businesses that violate their safety standards. OSHA publishes a compilation of its most frequent workplace safety violations to educate businesses on where they are likely to fall short.
Maintaining compliance with OSHA standards can be challenging, so it’s best to stay on top of worker safety and avoid major OSHA violations for the sake of your company’s bottom line and your team members.
The Top 10 OSHA Violations (And Tips to Prevent Them)
There are many types of OSHA violations, and if an OSHA inspector comes knocking on your door, you want to have them covered. This list of OSHA violations indicates the largest workplace risks to avoid. Let’s count them down from spot number 10.
10. Machinery and Machine Guarding
Any machine or machine part that can cause harm must be safeguarded, and failure to do so ranks at number 10 on our list of OSHA violations.
There’s good reason for this — no matter how adept an operator may be with a machine, there’s a risk of injury. Keep your team safe and avoid an OSHA citation with the following tips:
- Use safety guards: Any machine, machine part or function requires adequate and functional safety guards.
- Have a regular maintenance schedule: Machine guards need regular care and maintenance.
- Provide adequate training: Workers should be well-versed in using machine guards and the machines themselves.
- Anchor your equipment: Ensure machines are anchored and regularly check for wear and tear.
9. Powered Industrial Trucks
Forklifts consistently rank in OSHA’s top 10 violations and cause many preventable injuries across the U.S. Any company using them should have procedures to identify hazards and provide solutions to limit damages. Use these tips to stay up to date with OSHA requirements:
- Provide worker training: OSHA requires all forklift drivers to receive training. Only employees who have completed this training are authorized to drive these machines.
- Keep your workers licensed: Anyone who drives must be over 18 and have a valid license.
- Update your hazard identification procedures: Procedures and protocols to identify and deal with hazards are essential.
8. Eye and Face Protection
Workers in several industries run the risk of eye damage and facial injury from chemicals, machinery and other sources. Employees who may encounter such hazards must be given personal protection equipment (PPE).
Consider these tips to avoid an OSHA violation in this category:
- Provide worker training: Train your workers to identify hazards and react appropriately, as well as how to use and care for their PPE.
- Scatter emergency eyewash stations: In the event of an accident, workers should be able to remove foreign substances from their eyes as fast as possible.
- Print first aid procedures: Print first aid procedures and post them in potentially dangerous areas.
7. Control of Hazardous Energy
Many machines have energy sources that could be dangerous to workers. Employees maintaining or repairing these machines could be seriously injured if hazardous energy isn’t controlled.
It can be challenging to know when stored energy will release, so controlling it is critical. OSHA requires a lockout/tagout procedure where authorized employees can lock or tag energy-storing devices to isolate the energy. Other tips to keep in mind to prevent a citation include the following:
- Provide training: Ensure your employees understand the lockout/tagout procedures.
- Conduct inspections: Know what to expect from your equipment by performing regular inspections.
- Upgrade your equipment: Quality, reliable machinery is an excellent long-term investment. You’ll save on worker compensation and OSHA violation fees and provide your employees with a safer workspace.
6. Fall Protection Training
More than one-third of deaths in the construction industry were due to falls. Lack of appropriate training could earn you an OSHA citation, so here are some tips to keep workplace falls to a minimum:
- Give workers the right equipment: Provide your workers with the correct safety equipment, including shoes with adequate grip.
- Provide in-depth training: Your workers must complete training certifications in how to use safety equipment and react during a fall.
- Keep the workplace safe: Keep walking surfaces clutter-free, with adequate lighting and signage illustrating danger zones.
- Conduct regular inspections: Inspect high-risk areas such as scaffolding and flat roofing for any weak points, then address these.
OSHA maintains that the 52 fatal falls from scaffolding in 2020 could have been avoided by adhering to their standards.
As many workplaces require scaffolding, OSHA has established specific standards to address workplace safety. Some of the basics to bear in mind to prevent an OSHA violation include:
- Provide guardrails: Scaffolds higher than 10 feet should have guardrails.
- Check foundations: Always ensure the foundation of scaffolds is placed on solid ground.
- Use step stools and ladders: Workers should be able to safely get on and off the scaffold, and providing step stools and ladders can help them.
- Conduct inspections: Gaps between planking can cause falls. Inspect the scaffold for gaps and other high-risk areas and address these as soon as possible.
4. Hazard Communication
OSHA hazard communication standards (HCS) are aligned with the globally harmonized system of classification and labeling of chemicals (GHS) to standardize chemical classifications and ensure workers’ chemical safety.
OSHA requires employers to undergo training and communicate with employees about chemical hazards. Workers must always wear appropriate PPE when dealing with hazardous chemicals. Safety tips for hazard communication include:
- Improve employer and employee training: Employers and employees should understand the dangers and handling of specific chemicals.
- Use informative labels: Labels should clearly describe the chemicals in a container so employees know what safety precautions they must take.
- Keep safety data sheets: Ensure you maintain up-to-date and easy-to-access safety data on chemicals.
Many construction projects can’t occur without ladders, but more than 100 people die yearly from ladder-related falls. Thousands more are injured.
Consider the following pointers to steer clear of OSHA citations:
- Invest in proper training: Employees must be trained in ladder safety. They should know which equipment to wear and how to correctly select and set up a ladder.
- Inspect all ladders: Check ladders for signs of wear, then repair or discard unsuitable options.
- Check the location: Only allow employees to set up ladders in safe areas with no electrical cables or other obstacles.
2. Respiratory Protection
Many workers across the U.S. need to wear ventilators to protect themselves from hazardous environments. OSHA requires that employees are trained and use a certain standard of respirators to minimize exposure to potentially harmful environments.
You can keep citations away with these tips:
- Provide training: Respiratory protection and safety training lowers your risk of OSHA violations.
- Prioritize maintenance and repair: Ensure respirators are in working order by maintaining and repairing them.
- Ensure properly fitting respirators: Ill-fitting respirators won’t protect your workforce. Ensure they fit well.
- Keep records: Maintain detailed medical records of employees before they’re assigned to respiratory-required work, as well as in the event of exposure.
1. Fall Protection
Fall protection has been in the number one spot for over a decade. Many falls are preventable with adherence to OSHA standards. Tips to stay safe from citations include the following:
- Install guardrails or use fall arrest systems: Place guardrails or other fall safety systems in areas where employees will be working above 6 feet.
- Provide employees with fall protection equipment: Employees must have the appropriate equipment for the job, such as helmets and harnesses.
- Install fall arrest systems: Safety nets and other fall arrest systems could be the difference between life and death if a worker falls.
Avoid Major OSHA Violations With Hazmat School
The top 10 violations make it clear that worker training is one of the most fundamental priorities in ensuring employee safety and keeping OSHA violations at bay. With Hazmat School, anyone can take OSHA safety courses at the best prices. Remaining current with OSHA training is vital, and Hazmat School can help you stay OSHA compliant, whether you’re an employee or an individual looking to further your training.
Help keep your fines to a minimum and your workers safe with Hazmat School. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you stay safe and compliant.