It seems that some things never change, especially on job sites. For the fourth year in a row, the top OSHA violation on in 2014 was the lack of fall protection.
Here is OSHA’s list of last year’s most-violated safety standards. If it looks familiar, that’s because it has barely changed from previous years.
1. Fall protection.
The government requires construction companies and other employers to put safety devices in place for employees who walk six feet above the ground on roofs and other surfaces with an unprotected side or edge.
2. Hazard communication.
This refers to communicating with employees about the danger that chemicals used on the job or produced in the workplace can pose to health.
3. Scaffolding in construction.
OSHA requires that scaffolding be designed by a qualified specialist and constructed in accordance with that design. This standard says employers are responsible for preventing workers from falling off of scaffolding taller than 10 feet and from protecting them from falling objects.
4. Respiratory protection.
Employers must create a respiratory protection program, and then train employees so they’ll understand proper workplace procedures and how to use, clean, maintain and repair respirators. OSHA also has specific requirements for selecting respirators and for medical evaluation.
5. Powered industrial trucks.
Firms with these trucks in their fleets apparently are violating rules for their design, maintenance and operation, and for training employees to operate them safely. This standard covers forklifts and motorized hand trucks.
The most-violated section of this sixth most-violated rule involves establishing energy-control procedures and training employees in those procedures. OSHA has minimum performance requirements for the control of hazardous energy during servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment.
This rule covers anything and everything having to do with ladder safety. The most-violated rule: Ladder side rails must extend at least three feet above an upper landing surface.
8. Electrical and wiring methods.
Cords, cables, conductors, fixtures, and all things electric used on job sites must follow the OSHA standard that covers the grounding of electrical equipment, wiring, and insulation. That includes temporary wiring and splicing.
9. Machine guarding.
Machines are a necessary tool on any job site, but without proper anchoring, examination and operation, they can harm workers. The OSHA rule is designed to protect operators and other employees from hazards from rotating parts and flying sparks, among other potential troubles.
10. General electrical requirements.
Similar to machine guarding, safety requirements for designing electrical systems involves equipment examination, spacing around the equipment and knowing the equipment and its potential hazards.
OSHA defines a “serious” violation as one that is likely to kill or seriously injure a crew member—when the employer knew or should have known about the hazard.