Written by Cynthia Stowell, Staff Scientist, who works in BBJ Group's EHS Compliance Practice
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has made approximately 32,266 citations in 2018. This past October, OSHA announced the Top 10 most frequently cited workplace violations for fiscal year (FY) 2018. The list unveils the past year’s most frequently cited standards stemming from OSHA worksite inspections and is released, in part, to help educate employers regarding future EHS efforts. Overall, violations are up for FY 2018. This indicates that OSHA is in a high-enforcement phase. BBJ Group warned about this in our previous blog post "OSHA is in a High Enforcement Phase".
Though the rankings for OSHA’s Top 10 violations list tend to change very little from year to year, there is a new contender added to the list for 2018. “Eye and Face Protection” makes its debut at #10 knocking out “Electrical-Wiring Methods” from 2017’s list.
- Fall Protection. Fall Protection continues to be #1 on OSHA’s Top Ten List. It has reigned as the most common violation for more than five years. Falls are among the most common causes for serious work-related injuries and deaths. OSHA requires that fall protection be provided when working over dangerous equipment and machinery, regardless of the distance. This year, just as in 2017, OSHA is doubling down on enforcement as Fall Protection Training also appears as #8 on the list.
- Hazard Communication. Hazard Communication continues to hold on to its #2 spot. In order to ensure chemical safety in the workplace, information about the identities and chemical hazards must be available to workers. The Hazard Communication Standard is now aligned with a Globally Harmonized System to provide a common and coherent approach to classifying chemicals, hazard information and safety data sheets.
- Scaffolding. Scaffolding also holds on to its position from 2017 at #3. Scaffold accidents most often result from the planking or support giving way, or from the employee slipping or being struck by a falling object.
- Respiratory Protection. Respiratory protection is up slightly from 2017, but still holds the #4 spot. The quality of air we breathe, both on and off the job, have major implications for our respiratory health. The effect on the body from inhaling contaminants may be immediate or it could take years for symptoms to appear. Respirators protect workers against insufficient oxygen environments, harmful dust, fog, smoke, mist, gases, vapors and sprays. These hazards may cause cancer, lung impairment, other diseases or death.
- Lockout/Tagout. Up slightly from 2017, Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) refers to specific practices and procedures to safeguard employees from the unexpected startup of machinery and equipment, or the release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance activities. LOTO compliance helps to prevent more than a 50,000 injuries each year. LOTO compliance helps to prevent more than a 50,000 injuries each year.
- Ladders. Occupational fatalities caused by falls remain a serious public health problem. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) lists falls as one of the leading causes of traumatic occupational death, accounting for 8 percent of all occupational fatalities from trauma
- Powered Industrial Trucks (PIT). Most PIT incidents involve property damage as well. Unfortunately, most injuries and damages are due to lack of safe operating procedures, deficient safety-rule enforcement and inadequate training.
- Fall Protection (Training Requirements). Employers should provide a training program to employees who might be exposed to fall hazards. The program should ensure that the employee can recognize the potential hazards of falling and train them to follow proper safety precautions.
- Machine Guarding. Machine guards are the first line of defense against injuries caused by machines. Any machine part, function or process that may cause injury must be safeguarded.
- Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment, Eye and Face Protection. This requirement is making its very first appearance on the Top 10 List. Employees should use appropriate eye and/or face protection when exposed to eye or face hazards from flying particles, which include molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, or injurious light radiation.
Knowing how employees can be injured goes a long way in keeping them as safe as possible. BBJ Group provides employers health and safety compliance reviews, such as Hazardous Communication Planning and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Hazard Assessments to help protect employees and business interest by keeping people safe.
If you have questions regarding the content of this blog or need assistance with a project, please contact Cynthia Stowell at firstname.lastname@example.org.