Every year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) releases a report of the 10 most commonly cited violations for that year. The agency obtains this data from the tens of thousands of workplace inspections it conducts annually. Interestingly, the list remains fairly constant from year to year. Read on for more information about OSHA’s top ten safety and health violations and how you can avoid becoming a statistic in a serious, or fatal, workplace accident.
More than 4,500 workers are killed in a work-related accident annually, and about three million are injured. These numbers are staggering, especially considering that employers are responsible, by law, to provide and maintain safe work environments. The top 10 violations below contribute to the majority of these injuries and fatalities. If you have been injured on the job, contact a Boston work injury lawyer today.
- Fall protection: Falls are the leading cause of work-related deaths in the United States, and most of these occur in the construction industry. Without proper protection, such as harnesses and anchors, fall-related deaths increase significantly.
- Hazard communication: When hazardous chemicals are present, workers have a need and a right to know. Hazard communication refers to the process of identifying hazardous substances, notifying workers of the presence of hazardous substances, and informing workers of protective measures necessary to avoid injury or death when working with, or near, said hazardous substances.
- Scaffolds: Scaffold violations are often a contributing factor in fatal falls. Considering that about 65 percent of the construction industry works on scaffolds, preventing scaffold violations would dramatically reduce annual injuries and deaths in this industry.
- Respiratory protection: Exposure to asbestos, chemicals, and other toxic substances can result in long term health problems. Sudden chemical spills can even cause immediate death. Proper respiratory protection is essential to prevent long-term damage and sudden death in an emergency situation. Unfortunately, lack of adequate respiratory protection is one of the most commonly cited OSHA violations.
- Lockout / tagout: These violations often result in gruesome injuries and deaths from machines that start up suddenly. Lockout / tagout refers to the process of turning machines off and ensuring they can’t be turned back on while being worked on.
- Powered industrial trucks: Forklifts and powered industrial trucks are responsible for significant injuries and deaths every year. In nearly all fatal cases involving one of these machines, workers were not properly trained on safe operation, or other OSHA violations were a factor.
- Ladders: Ladder violations often contribute to fall injuries and deaths.
- Machine guarding: Similar to lockout / tagout, machine guarding refers to the installation of machine guards to protect arms, hands, legs, and feet from injury, amputation, or worse. Failure to properly guard machines is a common OSHA violation.
- Electrical wiring: It isn’t difficult to understand why electrical violations can spell disaster. Electrocution can be immediately deadly. Therefore, proper precautions and safety training are essential for jobs involving electrical work.
- Electrical, general: Ditto, above.
Most of the above violations occur in the construction industry. Unfortunately construction is an inherently dangerous field. However, risks and hazards can be dramatically reduced, along with your risk of serious injury and death, when OSHA regulations and standards are followed. If you notice an on-the-job hazard, report it to your supervisor immediately. If your supervisor doesn’t promptly respond to your concerns, you can always contact OSHA. If you have been injured in a work-related accident, contact a Boston work injury lawyer today.
Altman & Altman, LLP – Work Injury Lawyers Serving All of Massachusetts
If you have suffered on-the-job injuries, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have been protecting the rights of MA workers for more than 50 years. It is our goal to get you the compensation you deserve so that you can move on with your life. In addition to workers’ compensation, you may be entitled to additional compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Our knowledgeable work injury team will make sure you understand your rights and options before moving forward. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.