Employers have a responsibility to provide a safe and healthy workplace with programs and systems in place to protect employees from a vast range of workplace hazards.
For any business, small or large, maintaining federal, state, and local Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety (OEHS) regulatory compliance management can be a confusing and daunting task with a myriad of requirements and regulations. Non-compliance with regulators can lead to thousands of dollars in fines and civil penalties, increased insurance premiums and liability, bodily injuries or fatalities of employees, risk of lawsuits, and potential failure of a business.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has released the Top 10 federal OSHA workplace safety standard inspection citations for all industries for the 2022 fiscal year. Employers should take preventable measures by implementing safety procedures and train their employees to reduce the risk of workplace injuries, fatalities and fines.
OSHA’s Top 10 most frequently cited workplace safety standards for 2022:
- Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501): 5,260+ violations in 2022
- Evaluating and mapping workplaces can help prevent falls from platforms, elevated workstations or into openings in floors and walls. Fall protection may include guardrails on walkways, pits, and roofs, structurally sound walking surfaces, safety net systems, personal fall arrest systems, and protection from falling objects.
- Hazard Communication (1910.1200): 2,420+ violations in 2022
- OSHA requires employers with hazardous chemicals in their workplaces and chemical manufacturers with importers to have a Hazard Communication plan under the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). To maintain chemical safety in the workplace, it is important that there is a written hazard communication program and that employees are trained and informed of chemical hazards including readily available safety data sheets and visible labels.
- Respiratory Protection (1910.134): 2,185+ violations in 2022
- Employers in general industry are required to conduct a hazard assessment to determine the appropriate respiratory protection to protect their workforce from harmful dusts, fogs, fumes, mists, gases, smokes, sprays, vapors, and insufficient oxygen environments. Employers may be required to develop and implement a written respiratory protection program, train their employees in hazards and proper use, and have their employees fit tested.
- Ladders (1926.1053): 2,140+ violations in 2022
- Factors that can contribute to ladder falls include worker inexperience or lack of training, improper ladder selection, improper use of a ladder, ladder overloading, a ladder not set up on a flat, level surface or a proper angle, not extending the ladder above the roof line, and lack of safe access. Workers should train their employees in the proper use of ladders to avoid injuries and should utilize best practice guidance and resources from OSHA and The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
- Scaffolding (1926.451): 2,050+ violations in 2022
- Factors that can contribute to scaffold falls include employers with no fall protection programs, worker inexperience, lack of worker training to identify, understand, and control fall hazards, lack of fall protection or fall arrest system, unstable work surfaces, improper scaffold construction, selection, or use, no use of guardrails, unlocked wheels before mounting the work platform, working alone from heights during off hours.
- Lockout/Tagout (1910.147): 1,975+ violations in 2022
- The OSHA standard for the Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout) addresses manufacturing and industrial facility practices and procedures needed to disable machinery or equipment and prevent the release of hazardous energy while employees or contractors perform servicing and maintenance activities. Proper lockout/tagout practices protect workers from the release of hazardous electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, or thermal energy during the servicing and maintenance of machinery or equipment. An unexpected startup of a machine or the release of stored energy can cause serious injuries and fatalities. It is therefore important for employers to establish energy control programs and procedures.
- Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178): 1,745+ violations in 2022
- Powered industrial trucks (PITs) include machinery such as forklifts or lift trucks that are used to move materials and can be controlled by an operator or by a walking operator. As with any machinery, there can be many hazards associated with the use of forklifts or lift trucks. To keep both drivers and bystanders safe, it is important to understand basic operating rules, safe work practices, and how workplace conditions can affect safe operation.
- Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment – Eye and Face Protection (1926.102): 1,400+ violations in 2022
- To prevent or lessen the severity of injuries, employers should ensure employees are provided with, trained in and use appropriate eye and face protection against chemical, environmental, radiological, or mechanical irritants and hazards.
- Machine Guarding (1910.212): 1,370+ violations in 2022
- OSHA’s machine guarding standard requires equipment (such as guillotine cutters, shears, alligator shears, power presses, milling machines, power saws, jointers, portable power tools, forming rolls and calendars, revolving drums, barrels, containers and anchoring fixed machinery) within manufacturing and industrial facilities to have specific machine guarding processes in place to protect from hazards such as those created by point of operation, ingoing nip points, rotating parts, and flying chips and sparks. OSHA requires safeguards to be affixed to the machine where possible and secured elsewhere if for any reason attachment to the machine is not possible. Safeguards such as physical barriers to machinery, physical distancing, electronic safety devices, and automated mechanisms are essential in reducing risk. Take a look at RHP’s blog on Machine Guarding and Workplace Safety for more information.
Through a comprehensive risk analysis utilizing data-based decisions, RHP Risk Management’s team of Certified Industrial Hygienists (CIHs) and Certified Safety Professionals (CSPs) industry experts enhance existing EHS strategies and develop and implement new, effective EHS strategies as needed. RHP works with you to develop customized workplace safety solutions by evaluating your organization’s unique occupational hazards; develop meaningful and actionable insights the quantifiable data to mitigate occupational hazards; provide onsite EHS experts to implement, train and audit effectiveness of the recommendations; validate the plan meets OSHA, ANSI regulatory authority requirements and NIOSH recommendations; perform facility audits of the existing EHS program and identify any gaps; develop a comprehensive training program for all safety and health aspects of your facility; and schedule ongoing EHS support customized to your business’s needs. Contact RHP by calling (773) 867-6010.