Archive for October, 2014

27
Oct 2014
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OSHA’s Top Violations for 2014

Employers have a basic obligation to follow rules set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. These rules are designed to prevent hazardous conditions from putting workers at risk of injury or death. Unfortunately, a workers’ compensation lawyer knows that it is not uncommon for employers to fail to live up to even minimum safety standards. 

When an employer allows substandard conditions to exist at a workplace, the lives of employees are endangered. An employee can make a complaint and an investigation may be triggered (the employee is protected by law from retaliation). Inspections are also triggered when a worker is injured or killed and the incident is reported to OSHA. Businesses in Providence, RI and surrounding areas including Barrington, Bristol, East Greenwich, and North Kingstown are supposed to be subject to periodic inspections as well, but unfortunately OSHA is understaffed and these types of inspections in the ordinary course of business do not occur as often as they should.

When OSHA inspectors visit a workplace and find something wrong, a citation may be issued. Recently, Safety and Health Magazine reported that OSHA has released its list of top violations over Federal Fiscal Year 2014, which ended at the end of September. These are the safety standards that employers most frequently failed to live up to.

List of Top OSHA Violations

OSHA unveiled the list of the most cited violations at the National Safety Council’s Congress and Expo. The list included:

  • Fall Protection in Construction (1926.501). A failure to live up to this particular fall protections standard has been the most frequent OSHA violation for four years in a row.
  • Hazard Communication (1910.1200). Employees must be appropriately notified of hazards and dangers to avoid injury.
  • Scaffolding in Construction (1926.451). Scaffolding problems, along with a failure to provide fall protection, are some of the main reasons why falls remain a top cause of death. Falls are considered one of the “Fatal Four,” which means that they are among the four top causes of construction worker fatalities.
  • Respiratory Protection (1910.134). When employees breath in toxins and chemicals, they can become sick. Workers’ compensation covers workplace illnesses.
  • Lockout/Tagout (1910.147). Lockout and tagout procedures are procedures designed to protect workers from a machine or piece of equipment unexpectedly starting.
  • Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178). This standard relates to the design, maintenance and use of fork trusts and other related equipment powered by electric motors or internal combustion engines.
  • Electrical – Wiring Methods (1910.305). Improper safety processes when it comes to wiring can result in electrocution or burns.
  • Ladders in Construction (1926.1053). Problems with ladders also contribute to falls being one of the top four causes of workplace fatalities.
  • Machine Guarding (1910.212). When machine guards are not properly in place, workers could suffer amputations, other serious injuries or death.
  • Electrical – General Requirements (1910.303). Like problems with wiring methods, a failure to fulfill any electrical safety requirements could have deadly consequences.

Employers and employees need to be aware of these top causes of violations and do everything possible to avoid unsafe conditions in the workplace.

Contact a Providence workers’ compensation lawyer at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl at 508-677-4900 or visit http://www.dgklaw.com to schedule your free consultation.