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Friday, October 21, 2016

What are the most frequent citations issued by OSHA?

By: Michael Schreyer

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) serves a very important role in our daily lives by making sure that we have a safe environment to work in. OSHA will periodically audit companies to inspect working conditions and insure that the company you’re working for is compliant with the rules and regulations that they have established. However, even with the best of intentions, not all companies are OSHA compliant. As such, here is a list of the most common OSHA violations that businesses tend to commit.

Image Courtesy of: Anirudh Koul
Fall protection- Gravity has a tendency to do a nasty number on the human body. Slips and falls tend to be one of the most common workplace injuries and while it might not always be due to noncompliance,

fall protection violations don’t help matters much. When working on a surface that is 6 feet or more above another surface, OSHA requires there to be some measure of fall protection, whether it be guardrails, safety netting, or a personal safety harness.

Hazard communication- Do you always know what chemicals you’re working with? OSHA mandates that all chemicals that are used are clearly labeled as well as having the necessary and up today material data safety sheets that explain what the chemical does as well as how it can be neutralized in case of an emergency. Companies get violations for used unapproved cleaners, unlabeled bottles, or not having an up to date MDSS for the chemical agents being used.

Scaffolding- Hand in hand with slips and falls, scaffolding can be some of the most dangerous equipment for an employee to use. Not only does it have to reach considerable heights, but is also in danger of falling over which can lead to serious injury or death. Because of this, OSHA has some very strict requirements regarding scaffolding and the necessary safety measures that must be in place for it to be used.

Respiratory protection- Chemicals, fine dust, and particulate matter that is stirred into the air can create a very real hazard for employees. Anywhere from a respiratory infection to long term and chronic illnesses and diseases can be caused by lack of proper respiratory gear. Often times violations are from employees not using protective gear, or it not being on hand or properly located.

Lock Out/ Tag Out- This is a very common violation that can lead to some very serious injuries. The Lock Out/ Tag Out process is used when a piece of equipment is malfunctioning and is in need of repairs. During a lockout / tagout, the equipment is locked and disabled from being used, a tag is then hanged on the equipment to let employees know that the device is out of order and not to be used.

These are just a handful of the violations that OSHA audits tend to turn up. Make sure you take steps to protect yourself. If something isn’t working, or seems to be wrong, bring it up with your supervisor so the problem is addressed. Workplace injuries can be more than just a painful inconvenience, as serious matters can cause significant and prolonged harm. If you’ve been injured on the job, then speak with a personal injury attorney to help protect your rights.

About the author: Michael Schreyer is a personal injury attorney in Maryland and is a partner in the firm of Alpert Schreyer, LLC.  He is an experienced personal injury attorney, serving the Maryland and Washington, DC area and providing information and advice on his law blog at dcmdlaw.com.

Resource: Google Search: OSHA
Image: Flickr, Creative Commons