OSHA Compliance Facts and Figures

Each year, thousands of workplace accidents and fatalities occur around the country. OSHA is working hard to reduce the number of those incidents. Since OSHA’s creation in 1971, injuries have declined by 42%. Occupational deaths have decreased by 62%. Great strides have been made to increase workplace safety. However, there’s always room for improvement.

Following are the top 10 OSHA citations for October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2009:

  1. Scaffolding, general requirements, construction (29 CFR 1926.451) – This standard covers general safety requirements for scaffolding. Scaffolds are to be designed by a qualified person, and should be constructed and loaded in accordance with that design.
  2. Fall protection, construction (29 CFR 1926.501) – This standard outlines where fall protection is required, which systems are appropriate for given situations, the proper construction and installation of safety systems, and the proper supervision of employees to prevent falls.
  3. Hazard communication standard, general industry (29 CFR 1910.1200) – This standard addresses chemical hazards – both chemicals produced in the workplace and imported into the workplace. It also governs the communication of those hazards to workers.
  4. Respiratory protection, general industry (29 CFR 1910.134) – This standard directs employers in establishing or maintaining a respiratory protection program. It lists requirements for program administration; worksite-specific procedures; respirator selection; employee training; fit testing; medical evaluation; respirator use; and respirator cleaning, maintenance, and repair.
  5. Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout), general industry (29 CFR 1910.147) – This standard outlines minimum performance requirements for the control of hazardous energy during servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment.
  6. Ladders, construction (29 CFR 1926.1053) – This standard covers general requirements for all ladders.
  7. Powered industrial trucks, general industry (29 CFR 1910.178) – This standard covers the design, maintenance and operation of powered industrial trucks, including forklifts and motorized hand trucks. It also covers requirements for operator training.
  8. Electrical, wiring methods, components and equipment, general industry (29 CFR 1910.305) – This standard covers the grounding of electrical equipment, wiring, and installation. It includes temporary wiring and splicing such as flexible cords and cables.
  9. Electrical systems design, general requirements, general industry (29 CFR 1910.303) – This standard covers general safety requirements for designing electrical systems.
  10. Fall protection, training requirements (29 CFR 1926.503) – This standard covers the employer’s requirements for training employees who might be exposed to a fall hazard.

If you have received an OSHA citation, there are five key steps to prepare for the next step in the process – the “abatement” process.

  1. Correct. Normally, OSHA expects that hazards found during their inspection be fixed within 30 days of the inspection. Exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis.
  2. Certify. OSHA requires a letter certifying that the violation has been corrected.
  3. Notify. Employees exposed to the hazard must be notified about the citation.
  4. Verify. An organization has to provide OSHA with specific abatement documentation.
  5. Tag. Any cited movable equipment must be tagged with a warning or a copy of the citation.

Depending on the severity, penalties can range from $7,000 to $70,000 per violation. Multiple violations can cost a company hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, the cost of human injuries or death can be even greater. In order to avoid both, employees must be provided with the training and safety equipment necessary for their specific job. Proper preparation can save millions of dollars in the long run.

Sources: http://www.osha.gov/as/opa/osha-faq.html, Safety+Health/ www.nsc.org, http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/compliance_assistance/frequent_standards.html, http://safetydailyadvisor.blr.com/archive/2009/09/02/enforcement_inspection_osha_citations.aspx

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