OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is charged with ensuring workplace safety.
As part of that mission, they cite employers that violate safety codes that reduce the risk of workplace injury. Unfortunately, many of these violations remain common, year after year.
Here are the most common violations in 2012 and how they correlate with OSHA’s Fatal 4, which account for 57% of all construction site accident fatalities.
Fall Protection: 7,250 violations (UP from 7,139 violations in 2011). Falls are the number one cause of construction site accident death, accounting for 35% of deaths.
Hazard Communication: 4,696 violations (DOWN from 6,538). Deals with the handling of chemical hazards in the workplace, including communicating hazards to workers.
Scaffolding: 3,814 violations (DOWN from 7,069). Relates to falls.
Respiratory Protection: 2,371 violations (DOWN from 3,944). Deals with the standard use of respirators to protect from dust and chemical fumes. Although rarely fatal, exposure to fumes and dust is a major cause of occupational illness.
Ladders: 2,310 violations (DOWN from 3,244). Again relates to falls.
Machinery and Machine Guarding: 2,097 violations (DOWN from 2,728). Relates a leading cause of amputation and workplace fatality, caught in/between.
Powered Industrial Trucks: 1,993 violations (DOWN from 3,432). A major cause of “struck by object” injuries, a leading cause of workplace death.
Electrical Wiring Methods: 1,744 violations (DOWN from 3,584). This and all the remaining violations relate to electrocution, the second leading cause of workplace death.
Lockout/Tagout: 1,572 violations (DOWN from 3,639). This offense had one of the highest penalties (ranked third, after fall protection and scaffolding).
Electrical General Requirements: 1,332 violations (DOWN from 2863).
It’s hard to know whether the decrease in violations cited is due to increased safety or changes in inspection procedures.