OSHA is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Its laws and regulations cover everything from excavation to infectious disease protection to dangerous materials. If you are reading this, you probably already have some idea of what OSHA is, so lets jump right in.
This is the first article in a two-part article covering OSHA’s most commonly cited violations. This article covers 5 of the 10 most frequently cited issues.
What happens when an OSHA standard is violated?
When a standard is cited by OSHA, it means that the law has been broken somewhere. Essentially, when there is a workplace accident that results in death or injury, OSHA does an investigation to discover why and what happened. Not only does OSHA offer reporting services, but going to the OSHA website and doing a search for “accident” will show accident reports. OSHA makes these detailed accident reports to figure out whether the mistake was due to company or employee negligence. Some companies can be completely shut down. Others may become embroiled in litigation for months or years. Needless to say, it’s important to try to not violate OSHA standards. The health and safety of your workers is important, as well as their continued employment through your company’s survival.
The top 10 OSHA citations
Number 10: Machinery and machine guarding
Moving machinery and parts create pinch points which can crush limbs. Additional injuries include burns, blindness, and amputation. A common injury a construction contractor may have is a burn. Burns often happen when operated machinery doesn’t have a proper guard.
You can read about the machine guarding standards on OSHA’s website here. There are dozens of stipulations and safety requirements. However, in the construction industry, the basics boil down to a few things:
- Power tools are to be kept clean and in good working order.
- Guards are used for powered moving parts on machines.
- Guards are used for work areas to protect others from flying debris they may create.
Recognizing machine hazards and putting guards in place is the main way to protect from these hazards. Moving parts near workers should always be taken seriously.
Number 9: Eye and face protection
Eye and face protection is key in preventing burns and blindness. Additionally, eye protection prevents damage from non-ionizing radiation, chemical injuries, and damage from flying debris like metal/wood chips. Here is the eye and face protection standards link.
The basics boil down to the employer providing protection for employees when there are:
- Flying particles or debris
- Molten metal
- Liquid chemicals
- Acid/caustic liquid
- Chemical gasses or vapors
- Dangerous light radiation
Avoiding these dangers involves being aware of where they are, and the employer providing the right eye protection. The PPE (personal protective equipment) can range from full face shielding to safety glasses.
Number 8: Fall protection – training requirements
Falls are some of the most common causes of serious workplace injuries and deaths. An employer needs to provide fall protection as well as fall training. Training in fall protection should involve numerous different aspects/scenarios.
- Rescue of a fallen employee.
- Use of harnesses or other fall arrest equipment.
- Height/fall hazard recognition.
- Exercise caution in any scenario where a worker can fall onto a hazard or is working at heights.
As an employer, it is your job to train your workers in fall protection in language they can understand. The training must cover all possible fall scenarios that the job will present.
Number 7: General Safety For Powered Industrial Trucks
Commonly called forklifts or lift trucks, these vehicles are used primarily for moving materials. Trucks used for hauling on roads are not powered industrial trucks. Common injuries that happen with these include:
- Lifted loads falling on truck operators.
- Trucks accidentally driven off of loading docks.
- Workers beings struck by a lift or truck.
- Trucks falling off of elevated pallets or other raised surfaces.
- Trucks falling between docks and unsecured trailers.
The best way to ensure that your worksite doesn’t have accidents involving powered industrial trucks is quite easy. Employers should ensure that these trucks are operated by competent operators. Operators can pass a certification to become drivers of these vehicles. One of the big reasons these trucks have accidents is because workers/employers assume their ease of use and let untrained workers operate them.
Number 6: Control of hazardous energy (lock out tag out)
An energy source of any kind can be dangerous to people around it. Of the energy sources found in workplaces, there are many. They include chemical, hydraulic, pneumatic, electrical, thermal, and any other energy use/source. When workers need to work on or around these machines, they can be seriously injured or killed if the machines are energized. Common injuries include burns, electrocution, amputations, crushing and much more.
Thus, workers need to practice LOTO (lock out tag out). This is the process of using a hasp and padlock to lock an energized device after it has been shut off. Only the employee working on the device has the key to open it. This prevents another worker from energizing said machine/device.
There are quite a lot of OSHA standards for hazardous energy. Avoiding accidents with it involve several requirements:
- Proper training in and use of LOTO. This includes the equipment (hasps and locks).
- Employees should be trained in the purpose of energy control procedures.
- Training in recognizing and controlling hazardous energy sources.
- Training in procedures and limitations of the LOTO system.
- Retraining in the case that control methods are changed or new ones introduced.
Stay safe out there
Visit our site next week for our article covering the 5 most common OSHA citations. Reliable Commercial Construction has been faithfully serving the Fort Worth Texas area for over 35 years. If you need a commercial contractor who is safe, high quality, and efficient, go with reliable. Message us today to see what we can do for you.