The 10 Most Common OSHA Violations

There are numerous types of OSHA violations that range from being fairly innocuous to extremely serious. The latter can result in costly penalties, especially if they’re repeated offenses. There are 10 in particular that occur most frequently. Knowing these specific violations gives your company the insight necessary to address any issues.

1. Fall Protection

Fall protection involves providing employees with a protected walking/working surface when there’s a side or edge that’s six feet or higher above a lower level. As you might imagine, this is especially prevalent in the construction industry.

2. Hazard Communication

This pertains to chemical hazards to ensure that they’re properly classified, labeled and handled. For example, employers must ensure that there is proper labeling on containers holding hazardous chemicals and a new label is added if an old one becomes defaced.

3. Scaffolding

According to OSHA, “Each scaffold and scaffold component shall be capable of supporting, without failure, its own weight and at least four times the maximum intended load applied or transmitted to it.” This primarily applies to construction jobs as well.

4. Respiratory Protection

Some occupations involve contact with harmful airborne contaminants such as fumes, gases and sprays. OSHA mandates that these workers use proper equipment like an air-purifying respirator to prevent the inhalation of contaminants.

5. Lockout/Tagout

Lockout/Tagout can apply to a variety of industries. Employers must ensure that machines and equipment meet at least minimum performance requirements. These industries must perform periodic inspections to minimize the risk of employees being injured due to faulty operation.

6. Powered Industrial Trucks

The term “industrial trucks” applies to:

  • Fork lifts
  • Motorized hand trucks
  • Tractors
  • Etc.

They must meet safety requirements in terms of design, maintenance and use. Modifications must not be made without prior approval by the manufacturer.

7. Ladders

OSHA specifically states, “A ladder must be able to support at least four times the maximum intended load, except that each extra-heavy-duty type 1A metal or plastic ladder shall sustain at least 3.3 times the maximum intended load.” Ladders should also only be used for the purpose for which they were intended.

8. Electrical, Wiring Methods

This addresses electrical wiring and installation as well as the grounding of electrical equipment. Common offenses involve failing to close electrical openings and using temporary wiring beyond a project’s completion.

9. Machine Guarding

Machinery and heavy equipment must have proper guarding to prevent sparks or chips flying, or dangerous blades from being directly exposed.

10. Electrical, General Requirements

Violations here relate to improper electrical installation, using excessive voltage, and electrical equipment exposed to damp or wet conditions. Electrical fixtures must also be properly covered to protect them from abrasion.

As you can see, OSHA violations run the gamut. There are a lot of safety areas that demand your attention and ongoing maintenance to ensure that you’re meeting relevant standards.

Learn more about OSHA and why it’s important to your business.

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