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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in osha standards

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Our last blog, OSHA’s Top Ten Most Frequently Cited Workplace Safety Standards for 2021, covered what OSHA calls the top ten serious violations for the fiscal year 2021. This list is defined by OSHA as “one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.”

There is another OSHA top ten list we don’t hear as much about, but is actually considered the most serious of violations – the Top 10 “Willful” Violations. A willful violation occurs when an employer intentionally disregards OSHA’s rules and regulations or has an indifference to employee health and safety. A willful violation is punishable by a minimum of a $5000 fine and a maximum of a $70,000 fine per violation. If there is an employee death because of a willful violation, it becomes a criminal offense and can be punishable by fines of up to $500,000 and imprisonment of up to six months.

There are three categories for willful violations:
Intentional Disregard Violations – employer was aware of the standards and regulations set by OSHA and had knowledge of the hazard but chose not to address it
Plain Indifference Violations – lack of concern for employee health and safety, which could be management knew of regulations, but failed to inform lower level supervisors or did not take preventative measures or place any importance to protect employees
Criminal Willful Violations – violations that were the result of a death that is caused by a hazardous situation

Many violations on the list are the same as the serious violations, including Fall Protection being number one as well.

Top 10 “Willful” Violations, fiscal year 2021:
1. Fall Protection – General Requirements: 155 violations
2. Machine Guarding: 27 violations
3. Personal Protective and Life Saving Equipment – Eye and Face Protection: 23 violations
4. Lockout/Tagout: 22 violations
5. Requirements for Protective Systems: 15 violations
6. OSH Act of 1970 Section: 13 violations
7. Scaffolding: 12 violations
Permit Required Confined Space: 12 violations
Grain Handling Facilities: 12 violations
10. Personal Protective and Life Saving Equipment – Head Protection: 8 violations

It’s a new year, but one thing that will most likely stay pretty much the same is OSHA’s top 10 most frequently cited workplace safety standards as they did in 2021. Fall protection continues to remain at the top of the list – 11 years running. Followed by respiratory protection and ladders. One big change is hazard communication, which has been #2 for the past several years, but moved to #5 on this year’s list.

Here’s the list in entirety for 2021 with OSHA standard number and the total number of violations for the year and a description of each:

1. Fall protection—General requirements (1926.501): 5,295 violations
- 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. It’s designed to protect employees on walking/working surfaces with an unprotected side or edge above six feet.

2. Respiratory protection (1910.134): 2,527 violations
- Standard directs employers on 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.

3. Ladders (1926.1053): 2,026 violations
- Standard covers general requirements for all ladders.

4. Scaffolding (1926.451): 1,948 violations
- Standard covers general safety requirements for scaffolding, which should be designed by a qualified person and constructed and loaded in accordance with that design. Employers are bound to protect construction workers from falls and falling objects while working on or near scaffolding at heights of 10 feet or higher.

5. Hazard communication (1910.1200): 1,947 violations
- Standard addresses chemical hazards – both those chemicals produced in the workplace and those imported into the workplace. It also governs the communication of those hazards to workers.

6. Lockout/tagout (1910.147): 1,698 violations
- Standard outlines minimum performance requirements for the control of hazardous energy during servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment.

7. Fall protection—Training requirements (1926.503): 1,666 violations
- Standard addresses training requirements for employers in regard to fall protection.

8. Personal protective and lifesaving equipment—Eye and face protection (1926.102): 1,452 violations
- Standard addresses appropriate personal protective equipment for workers exposed to eye or face hazards, such as flying particles and chemical gases or vapors.

9. Powered industrial trucks (1910.178): 1,420 violations
- Standard covers the design, maintenance and operation of powered industrial trucks, including forklifts and motorized hand trucks. It also covers operator training requirements.

10. Machine guarding (1910.212): 1,113 violations
- Standard covers guarding of machinery to protect operators and other employees from hazards, including those created by point of operation, ingoing nip points, rotating parts, flying chips and sparks.

Tagged in: OSHA osha standards

OSHA has issued a final rule revising 14 provisions in its recordkeeping, general industry, maritime, and construction standards that might be outdated, confusing, or unnecessary. According to the agency's Federal Register notice, the rule “reduces regulatory burden while maintaining or enhancing worker safety and health, and improving privacy protections.” OSHA also stated in a press release that the changes are expected to save employers an estimated total of $6.1 million per year.

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Tagged in: OSHA osha standards

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