The Top 10 OSHA Standards Most Frequently Violated by Workplaces

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enforces standards and regulations to ensure the safety of workplaces and the workers within them. It’s essential for offices and organizations to follow these regulations, but there’s a surprising amount of employers who simply aren’t aware that these standards and regulations exist, let alone that they’re not meeting them. Each year OSHA publishes a list of standards that workplaces most frequently violate. Make sure your workplace is not only safe, but meeting OSHA regulations. Don’t make the same mistakes other workplaces do and avoid these 10 most common violations.

1. Fall protection: construction

The most frequently violated OSHA standard by a workplace is fall protection, particularly for the construction industry. This standard requires workplaces to provide fall protection systems. OSHA states, “Each employee on a walking/working surface (horizontal and vertical surface) with an unprotected side or edge which is 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above a lower level shall be protected from falling by the use of guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems.” If you have areas in your work environment that have exposed open edges, there must be something there to protect workers from falling.

2. Hazard communication standard: general industry

This standard requires employers to outwardly and openly communicate any hazardous chemicals that exist within the workplace so employees and workers are aware of them. All communication about hazardous materials within the workplace must be transparent and clear for employees to understand.

3. Scaffolding general requirements: construction

OSHA requires that any scaffold in a workplace must be able to support its own weight and at least 4 times the maximum intended load applied to it. Many workplaces violate this standard as they’re unaware of exactly how much weight their scaffolding is capable of holding. It’s these small details that when paid attention to, can prevent accidents from happening and more importantly, keep workers safe.

4. Respiratory protection: general industry

In particular work environments, air quality can be compromised by harmful dusts, fogs, fumes, mists, gases, smokes, sprays, or vapors. This OSHA standard sets out to provide workers with the proper respiratory protection that aids them in the exposure to air contamination. This ensures that employees can breathe safely in their workplace.

5. Control of hazardous energy

Hazardous energy refers to sources of energy from electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal, or other sources in machines and equipment that can be hazardous to workers. You can imagine the workplace emergencies and disasters that occur when machines malfunction, whether it’s electrical, chemical, or mechanical. This OSHA standard protects employees when these malfunctions happen.

6. Ladders: construction

In order for workplaces to meet OSHA standards ladders have to be able to hold a certain amount of weight. This standard specifies that all ladders must be able to hold 4 times their intended load.

7. Powered industrial trucks, general industry

For companies who have employees operating industrial trucks powered by electric motors or internal combustion engines, this standard protects workers from malfunctions within those vehicles. Whether those malfunctions occur because of design or upkeep in maintenance, The variety of accidents that can occur when workers aren’t protected properly are extremely dangerous. This standard insures that trucks are up to date on inspections and marked with the proper tags, plates, and decals that prove the vehicles to be completely safe for workers to use.

8. Machinery and machine guarding

Heavy machinery needs to be used by workers with the proper protection. To meet OSHA standards, workers operating machinery must be protected by a machine guard that keeps their body from coming in contact with sparks or scraps of material exerted from the machine during operation.

9. Fall protection, training requirements

According to OSHA, falls are the most common cause of injuries in the workplace. This standard sets in place the training requirements that employees must receive in relation to fall protection. Employers are required to provide workers who are exposed to fall hazards with the proper training courses.

10. Electrical, wiring methods, components and equipment: general industry

Poor electrical wiring can cause fires, sparks, and is an overall danger to employees and workplaces. This standard sets regulations that insure all electrical wiring is consistently safe throughout the entire workspace.

OSHA creates these standards to keep workers safe. Make sure your workers feel protected and don’t make the same violations that most other workplaces do. Meet these 10 most frequently violated OSHA standards and give your employees the wonderful feeling of safety they deserve.

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