The biggest risk to worker safety hasn't changed in 10 years
For the 10th year in a row, lack of fall protection is the top violation cited by the National Safety Council and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The NSC and OSHA recently released the top 10 violations OSHA inspectors detected for the year. These are the kind of violations that can lead to an accident and ultimately a workers’ compensation claim. As is the case in most years, the top 10 violations haven't changed much, though their ranks on the list may have switched.
One thing that hasn't changed, however, is how poorly some employers protect their workers from being seriously injured by falls. Nationwide, OSHA issued more than 5,400 citations to employers who failed to meet general fall prevention requirements in 2020.
Let's take a look at the rest of the list…
Top 10 workplace safety violations
While failure to meet fall protection general requirements was the violation most cited, OSHA also discovered thousands of other violations in 2020, according to preliminary data.
The remainder of the top 10 most cited violations by OSHA are:
- Hazard communication – 3,199 violations
- Respiratory protection – 2,649
- Scaffolding – 2,538
- Ladders – 2,129
- Lockout/tagout – 2,065
- Powered industrial trucks – 1,932
- Fall protection – training requirements – 1,621
- Personal protective and life-saving equipment – Eye and face protection – 1,369
- Machine guarding – 1,313
According to OSHA, in 2020, there were significantly more violations concerning ladders and respiratory protection than in the previous year.
An unsafe workplace can result in serious injury
OSHA violations can result in a wide range of workplace injuries, including injuries to the back and neck, repetitive stress injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, heart attacks, toxic exposure, burns, electrocution, traumatic brain injuries, amputation, spinal cord damage, loss of hearing or sight, and longshoreman-type injuries.
Workplace OSHA violations are not to be taken lightly by employers or employees, as highlighted by one recent case.
For example, a Massachusetts a tax preparation business was recently fined over $100,000 and cited for allegedly refusing to provide and practice COVID-19 safeguards for employees. OSHA claims the Lynn-based business owner refused to let her customers or employees wear face masks to prevent disease transmission, among other violations.
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