The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), a division of the U.S. Department of Labor, is tasked with regulating work conditions in order to prevent work accidents. OSHA sets and enforces various work performance standards.
Work related accidents are almost always preventable and usually occur due to violation of OSHA regulations. Some violations are unintentional or negligent, while other violations are intentional or willful, meaning that the employer had knowledge of an OSHA standard but continues to ignore the regulation. For instance, an employer may have received prior OSHA citations/fines for failure to provide fall protection gear, but continues to engage in the behavior.
Top 10 OSHA Standards Cited in 2013 Worksite Inspections
As part of its work, OSHA performs safety inspections of worksites such as construction sites and factory or industrial sites. Such inspections generally occur for any number of reasons:
- the employer’s request,
- after a fatal work accident, or
- in response to a complaint.
According to recent data, OSHA workplace inspections performed in 2013 involved the following 10 OSHA standards.
- 1926.501 – Fall Protection
- 1910.1200 – Hazard Communication
- 1926.451 – Scaffolding
- 1910.134 – Respiratory Protection
- 1910.305 – Electrical, Wiring Methods
- 1910.178 – Powered Industrial Trucks
- 1926.1053 – Ladders
- 1910.147 – Lockout/Tagout
- 1910.303 – Electrical, General Requirements
- 1910.212 – Machine Guarding
Workplace Falls – Fall Protection, Scaffolding & Ladders
Hands down, one of the most common causes of workplace accidents is fall accidents, which includes falls from heights, scaffold fall accidents and ladder fall accidents. The failure to provide fall protection devices, i.e., guardrails, safety nets, and personal fall arrest gear (safety harness), is probably the most common reason that serious workplace fall accidents occur. Falls from even 6 feet can be fatal or at the very least, cause serious brain trauma and/or fractures.
OSHA Regulations – Report Violations
Workplace accidents accounted for over 4,600 deaths in 2012. This means that each day, about 13 workers are killed in on the job accidents. Granted, fatal work accidents have decreased over the last 10 years, practically all work accidents are 100% preventable. Therefore, it is crucial to identify unsafe work practices and resolve them.
If you see an OSHA violation, speak up. You may save a life, and what comes around, goes around. One day, another worker may save your life by speaking up about an OSHA violation. Visit OSHA’s website for OSHA’s online complaint form, or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) for emergency, life-threatening situations.
Want more info? Check out our workplace accident law library.
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