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Top 10 OSHA Violations for 2021

Each year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) publishes a list of its most frequently cited workplace safety violations across all industries. Ensuring workplace safety has always been a priority but even more so since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This top 10 list acts as a reminder to workplaces to target areas of improvement in the upcoming months.

Hover / tap to see the top 10 OSHA violations

Fall Prevention – General Requirements (5,271 Violations)

The number one cause of work-related injuries and deaths are falls. OSHA encourages employers to reduce the risk of falls by maintaining work environments free of known dangers. This means keeping floors clean and dry, providing personal protective equipment (PPE) at no cost to workers, and training employees about job hazards.

Respiratory Protection (2,521 Violations)

Working and breathing in unsafe conditions can cause lung damage, cancer, and other conditions. Respirators can protect employees against environments where there may be harmful dust and dirt, insufficient oxygen, smokes, fogs, mists, gases, sprays, or vapors.

Ladders (2,018 Violations)

Misuse of ladders in the workplace can result in serious injury. Ensure that employees use the right type of ladder, that the ladder is free of damage, and that employees are trained on how to safely use them. Ladders should not be used on unstable or uneven surfaces and safety cones should be used around the work zone in high-traffic areas.

Scaffolding (1,943 Violations)

Scaffolding poses a risk of injury and even death to employees, especially when used on unsecured floors, with oversized loads, or when used by untrained personnel. Scaffolding should be inspected daily and have proper protection from a fall, such as toe boards, guardrails, nettings, and screens.

Hazard Communication (1,939 Violations)

OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) helps minimize employee exposure to hazardous chemicals in the workplace. To minimize risks, businesses must keep a list of all hazardous chemicals used on site. Chemicals should be properly labeled and employees must be trained to handle these chemicals safely.

Lockout/Tagout (1,670 Violations)

Lockout/Tagout, otherwise known as OSHA’s standard for the Control of Hazardous Energy, aims to protect employees who service and maintain equipment or machines powered by hydraulics, electricity, or other power sources. Businesses must ensure that new equipment is inspected and only authorized Lockout/Tagout devices are utilized.

Fall Protection – Training Requirements (1,660 Violations)

OSHA requires employers to provide employees who may be exposed to fall hazards with a training program and to retrain staff if conditions or equipment changes. A person must be qualified in the nature of fall hazards in the workplace, the correct procedures for handling fall protection systems, and the limitations of equipment and materials.

Personal Protective and Life Saving Equipment – Eye and Face Protection (1,451 Violations)

Without proper eye and face protection, employees can sustain job-related eye injuries that require medical treatment. Employees must wear appropriate eye and face protection when exposed to hazards, such as liquid chemicals, flying particles, acids, caustic liquids, molten metal, chemical vapors or gases, or injurious light radiation.

Powered Industrial Trucks (1,404 Violations)

Many businesses rely on powered industrial trucks and forklifts to move crates, pallets, and other large loads. When using these machines, employees must have a clear view of the travel path, obey stop signs and speed limits, and drive slowly. Employers are responsible for repairing damage to work surfaces and inspecting work vehicles daily.

Machine Guarding (1,105 Violations)

Machine guarding requires the use of proper equipment and safety standards. Keep employees safe by training them on the proper use and handling of tools and machines. Also, guard any moving parts, hot surfaces, or sharp edges. Use signage and markers to notify coworkers when machines are in use, and keep stocked first aid kits on hand.

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