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  • Writer's pictureCostello Safety

Top 10 Most Common OSHA Violations & How To Avoid Them

Anything that puts employees at risk for a small or big injury - that's OSHA violation!

The very top priority for business owners and the management is to ensure employees to have a safe work environment . Overlooked or intentionally ignored safety compliance regulations often results in employee injuries and expensive violations fines and penalties. Worst, your company may even be temporarily shut down if the violation is severe or caused fatality.

If you are not sure what OSHA violations are or you committed one and how to avoid them, here are some information and tips.

There are multiple types of OSHA violations, and not all will apply to your industry. However, some offenses are more common than others and affect most businesses regardless of their industry.

  1. Fall Protection, General Industry It’s estimated over 300,000 employees suffer injuries due to falls at work. It is more common at construction sites, but slips and falls can happen at any workplace. However, businesses can take steps to improve safety and reduce the potential for falls. TIPS -- Keeps floors and aisles clear of debris and clutter. -- Install sufficient lighting and place warning signs of any potential hazards. -- Require all employees wear OSHA-approved footwear. -- Regularly inspect ladders, scaffolding, and other areas where falls happen Fall Protection Training Kit, available here.

  2. Hazard Communication Standard To meet OSHA compliance standards, all companies must have a four-part hazard communication plan in place. Accident prevention programs help keep employees safe and accountable for any hazards relating to injuries. TIPS -- Create a written safety and communication program. -- Use the appropriate warning signs and labels. -- Create datasheets for material safety. -- Train employees in comprehensive hazardous communication. Educating employees on the meanings of the various hazard communications labels and how to detect the presence of harmful chemicals are a few steps companies can take to avoid OSHA fines. In addition, businesses also want to educate employees on the current safety procedures in place. Hazard Communication Training Kit, available here.

  3. Respiratory Protection OSHA requires all employees wear respiratory protection when they are working around hazardous chemicals and other materials. Respirators protect workers from inhaling toxic fumes and particles that can impair lung function or cause certain cancers and other diseases. TIPS Different types of respirators work best in specific situations. Particulate respirators filter out airborne particles like dust and smoke, while airline respirators are recommended around hazardous chemicals. Respiratory Protection Kit, available here.

  4. Scaffolding Scaffolding is commonly used at construction sites and in warehouses, helping workers reach higher places. To ensure employee safety, there are specific OSHA scaffolding safety guidelines all employers need to meet. TIPS -- All scaffolding must have guardrails if it is over 10-feet in height. -- Regularly check the planking and decking for gaps -- Always use ladders or step stools to get on and off the platform -- Always place the scaffolding on a solid and level surface Scaffolding Training Kit, available here.

  5. Ladders TIPS -- All ladders must be clean and fully functioning -- The rungs must be level, and the locking mechanism fully engaged -- Ladders should always be used on level ground -- It is also recommended that at least two employees be in attendance when one is climbing up and down a ladder Ladder Safety Training Kit, available here.

  6. Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tag out) Hazardous energy refers to the power released by machines and other equipment. Referred to as Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) protocols, it outlines steps businesses can take to prevent this OSHA violation. TIPS -- Train all employees in proper equipment and machine use with LOTO program -- Regularly inspect all equipment, including new machinery -- Refrain from purchasing cheaper machinery Lockout/Tagout Training Kit, available here.

  7. Powered Industrial Trucks Powered industrial trucks are a common OSHA violation, especially forklifts. The equipment is common in several industries, from construction and manufacturing to warehouses. TIPS -- Require all employees using the vehicle to go through a forklift training program -- Have set rules on where the forklift is used and restricted areas marked -- Require licensing for any employee operating the forklift Forklift Training Kit, available here.

  8. Fall Protection, Training Requirements Companies using scaffolding without requiring employees to go through a fall protection training program may face an OSHA violation. As a result, employees must understand the four levels of fall protection. TIPS -- Have awareness of potential hazards -- Be an authorized user of the scaffolding. -- Be competent at heights. -- Be qualified and trained at fall protection

  9. Eye and Face Protection When employees come into contact with environmental, chemical, or radiological hazards, OSHA requires all workers to wear eye and face protection. In addition, workers are also required to undergo training detailing how to use the equipment and safely dispose of any hazardous materials. TIPS Companies also want to install eyewash stations in critical areas. Additionally, employees should also be trained in first-aid procedures and the use of their protective equipment. Eye and Face Protection Training Kit, available here.

  10. Machinery and Machine Protection Some machinery with moving parts is a potential workplace hazard. To avoid OSHA penalties, -- Install safety guards on the machines. -- Make sure all guards are away from any pinch points. -- Create a training program for employees on machine safety. -- Keep all machines properly maintained and replace all safety guards Machinery and Machine Training Kit, available here.


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