Every year, OSHA publishes a list of the top ten most frequently cited violations. Let’s look at the list of 2019’s most cited violations:
1. Fall Protection – General Requirements: 7,014 Violations §1926.501
One contractor had a fall-related fatality resulting in $1.792 million in fines!
2. Hazard Communication: 4,170 Violations §1910.1200
3. Scaffolding: 3,228 Violations §1926.451
4.Lockout/Tagout: 2,975 Violations §1910.147
5.Respiratory Protection: 2,826 Violations §1910.134
6. Ladders: 2,766 Violations §1926.1053
7. Powered Industrial Trucks: 2,347 Violations §1910.178
8. Fall Protection Training: 2,059 Violations §1926.503
9. Machine Guarding: 1,987 Violations §1910.212
10. PPE and Lifesaving Equipment: 1,630 Violations §1926.102
As a reminder, last year, OSHA updated its financial penalties to adjust for inflation. Violations start at $13,260. If you fail to abate the problem, it can reach that total per day past the abatement date. Willful or repeated penalties cost a whopping $132,598 per violation. Of course, this is aggregated national data – Michigan also has a state plan.
Injuries and Fatalities
In the United States, more than 300 are killed and more than 10,000 injured each year from falls in the construction industry alone. Falls are the most significant source of citations, injuries, and deaths. Among the reasons cited by a NIOSH publication, contributing factors attributed to these deaths include:
- Lack of training
- No fall protection program or personal fall arrest system
- Improper use of equipment
- Unstable and insecure setups
The OSHA director in Maine had this to say about the $1.792 Million fatality:
“Effective fall protection can prevent tragedies like this when an employer ensures the proper use of legally required lifesaving protection. An ongoing refusal to follow the law exposes other employees to potentially fatal or disabling injuries. Employers cannot evade their responsibility to ensure a safe and healthful workplace.” – David McGuan, OSHA area director in Augusta, ME
Violations like these aren’t reserved for large companies or the construction industry. Does your organization send employees more than a few feet off the ground to perform work? Could providing and requiring fall protection equipment and training save your company injuries and death? These tragic events happen all too often and come with crippling costs.
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