An annual tradition at the National Safety Congress is OSHA’s announcement of the Top 10 most frequently cited workplace safety violations for the fiscal year and 2015 was no different. “In injury prevention, we go where the data tells us to go,” said National Safety Council President and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman. “The OSHA Top 10 list is a roadmap that identifies the hazards you want to avoid on the journey to safety excellence.”
The Top 10 for FY 2015 are:
1. Fall Protection– 6,721 violations. What can you do to help? Equip all of your employees who are working at heights with appropriate fall protection gear that complies with the safety standard. If the workers refuse to use them after warnings, let them go. You don’t need the hassle.
2. Hazard Communication 5,192 violations. Have you identified and evaluated all chemical hazards in your workplace? Have you shared that critical information with all of your employees? The purpose of the HCS has remained the same since it was first enacted–to ensure that the hazards of all hazardous chemicals imported, produced or used in U.S. workplaces are evaluated and that the information is transmitted to affected employers and potentially exposed employees. This transfer of information is to be accomplished by means of a comprehensive hazard communication program that includes container labeling and other forms of warning, Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and employee training.
3. Scaffolding 4,295 violations. Your employees must follow established guidelines to help protect those who are working on or near scaffolding at heights of 10 feet or higher. Are your employees wearing required safety belts, lifelines and lanyards or using safety nets? These systems and standards are intended to help prevent employees from falling off, onto or through working levels and to help protect employees from falling objects.
4. Respiratory Protection 3,305 violations. NIOSH-certified respirators help protect your employees from air contaminants such as dust, fumes, gases, mist, sprays and vapors. Confined spaces, dust-filled shops, and other environments that could make the simple act of breathing dangerous are all in a day’s work for industrial workers. While keeping contaminants such as harmful dusts, fogs, fumes, mists, gases, smokes, sprays, and/or vapors out of the air workers breathe is the first line of defense, proper respiratory protection also is essential. If re-engineering a task or equipment fails to provide a safe working environment, employers must provide appropriate respiratory protection for every employee who might be exposed to harmful contaminants.
5. Lockout/Tag out 3,002 violations. Do you have procedures for shutting down, isolating, blocking, and securing (locks and tags) various forms of energy? Do procedures exist and is someone assigned responsibility for removing and transferring locks and tags? Does the program require that all hazardous energy sources be isolated, locked or tagged, and otherwise disabled before anyone performs any activity where unexpected energization, startup, stored energy could occur and cause injury?
6. Powered Industrial Trucks 2,760 violations. Maintenance, operator training and certification on forklifts, motorized hand trucks and pallet trucks is a crucial component of facility safety. Powered industrial truck violations annually remain among OSHA’s Top Ten most frequently cited standard violations. One of the major compliance issues is failure to train. Employers must develop and implement a training program based on the general principles of safe truck operation, the types of vehicle(s) being used and the hazards they create, and the general safety requirements of the OSHA standard. Trained operators must know how to do the job properly and do it safely as demonstrated by workplace evaluations. Formal (lecture, video, etc.) and practical (demonstration and practical exercises) training must be provided. Employers must also certify that each operator has received the training and evaluate each operator’s performance at least once every three years.
7. Ladders 2,489 violations. Proper care and usage requirements ensure the serviceability and safety of portable ladders. Ladders should be maintained in good condition by keeping all joints tight; lubricating all wheels, locks and pulleys; replacing worn rope; and routine cleaning. Those that are defective must be destroyed or withdrawn from service. Usage requirements involve placing the ladders at an angle so they are 1 ft. away from the wall for every 4 ft. of working ladder height; allowing only one person at a time on a ladder; not placing the ladder on top of other objects to increase height or in front of doorways; and extending the ladder three feet over a point of support if climbing to a rooftop, among others.
8. Electrical – Wiring Methods 2,404 violations. To help avoid potential violations, inspect your wiring and insulation. You must take steps to ensure proper grounding of electrical equipment.
9. Machine Guarding 2,295 violations. Guard your machinery to help protect operators and others from hazards, such as rotating parts, flying chips, sparks and other dangers.
10. Electrical – General Requirements 1,973 violations. Employees need to understand the potential hazards and take proper precautions before working around something as dangerous as electricity. Proper training and the right equipment are key to help ensure your employees’ safety.