Fall Protection (Once Again) Most Violated OSHA Standard

By Roy Maurer Sep 18, 2014

Fall protection retained the No. 1 spot on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) annual top 10 most-frequently cited workplace safety violations.

Patrick Kapust, deputy director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs, presented the top 10 cited violations for fiscal year 2014 at the National Safety Council’s 2014 Congress and Expo in San Diego.

This year’s list contained the same standards as last year’s, with a few standards moving up or down.

The top 10 violated standards:

  1. Fall protection: 6,143 violations
    These citations are down over 2,000 from fiscal year 2013. Frequently violated requirements included the protection of open sides and edges to prevent falls from roofs and to cover holes.

  2. Hazard communication: 5,161 violations
    This number is down over 1,000 citations from last fiscal year. Businesses commonly failed to have a written program, to provide adequate employee education and training, to properly label (or have any label on) containers, and to provide workers with access to safety data sheets.

  3. Scaffolding: 4,029 violations​
    Violations included problems with scaffold construction, improper worker access to scaffolding surfaces and lack of guardrails.

  4. Respiratory protection: 3,223 violations
    Frequent violations included not having a written respiratory-protection program, having poor fit-test procedures and an unsuitable respirator-selection process, and not having procedures to voluntarily use respirators.

  5. Lockout/Tagout: 2,704 violations
    Frequent violations were having poor or no energy-control procedures, inadequate worker training, and incomplete inspections.

  6. Powered industrial trucks: 2,662 violations
    Common violations were inadequate operator training and refresher training.

  7. Electrical (wiring): 2,490 violations
    Violations included problems with flexible cords and cables, boxes and temporary wiring; poor use of extension cords; and use of temporary wiring as permanent wiring.

  8. Ladders: 2,448 violations
    Violations included damaged side rails, using the top ladder step, using a ladder not suitable for the job and placing excessive loads on ladders.

  9. Machine guarding: 2,200 violations
    Violations included point-of-operation exposures, inadequate or no anchoring of fixed machinery, and exposure to blades.

  10. Electrical (general): 2,056 violations
    Common violations were related to electric shock and electrocution exposures.

“OSHA publishes this list to alert employers about these commonly cited standards so they can take steps to find and fix recognized hazards addressed in these and other standards before OSHA shows up,” the agency said.

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

Follow him @SHRMRoy

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