How to avoid OSHA’s top 10 most-cited violations

Every year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) releases a list of the top 10 most frequent workplace safety violations. OSHA shares this list to help you avoid the violations in your workplace and keep employees safe. Earlier this month, Texas Mutual reviewed OSHA’s 2017 top 10 list in our policyholder webinar and discussed how to reduce your risk and maintain compliance. Our webinar includes visuals to help you understand these OSHA standards and the most common violations. You can watch the webinar here, or keep reading for a recap.

Each standard and its associated OSHA code are included below. The codes beginning with “1926” are standards specific to the construction industry, and those beginning with “1910” apply to other general industries.

Fall protection1 – Fall protection– OSHA wrote 6,072 citations in the construction industry for unprotected edges, open sides and failure to provide fall protection. To meet these requirements and keep employees safe, guardrails, safety nets or personal fall arrest systems must be used when an employee is working on an unprotected side or edge that is six feet or more above a lower level. OSHA code: 29 CFR 1926.501

2- Hazard communication – Hazard communication came in second with 4,176 violations. The most frequent violations included lack of a hazard communication program, no safety data sheets, and not providing access to safety data sheets. Train your employees on your written hazard communications program to avoid these violations in your own workplace. Your employees should know where the safety data sheets are kept, as well as know how to read them and read chemical labels. OSHA code: 29 CFR 1910.1200

3- Scaffolding – There were 3,288 violations related to scaffolding in the construction industry. Improper access to surfaces and lack of guardrails were the most frequently violated requirements. Scaffolds must be designed by a qualified person and inspected daily. The scaffold needs to be used according to design and employees need to be trained on working safely on a scaffold. They must wear hardhats if the scaffold is 10 feet or higher. OSHA code: 29 CFR 1926.451

4 – Respiratory protection – Coming in at number four is respiratory protection, with 3,097 violations for failure to establish a respiratory protection program or failure to provide medical evaluations. To reduce the risk of receiving a citation from OSHA, employers should have a written respiratory protection program. A respiratory protection program will establish practices and procedures for respirator use including guidelines for training, selection, proper storage, use and care of respirators. Fit testing and medical evaluations should be included in your respiratory protection program. OSHA code: 29 CFR 1910.134

5 – Lockout/tagout – The lockout/tagout standard was cited 2,877 times, with the most frequent violations for inadequate worker training and missing or incomplete inspections. Lockout/tagout should take place whenever the servicing or maintenance of machines happens. You should have documentation for this procedure covering the steps to turn off, de-energize, lock and tag machinery while servicing it, keeping the machinery in a de-energized state to avoid an unexpected start up. OSHA code: 29 CFR 1910.147

ladder6 – Ladders – Ladder standards were cited 2,241 times in the construction industry for improper use, damaged ladders, and the use of the top step. To avoid this violation in your workplace, make sure you and employees always choose the proper ladder for the job. Consider the height of the work, the surface the ladder will rest on, whether or not electricity will be involved, and what the maximum intended load will be when selecting the ladder.

Employees should be trained on how to inspect ladders before each use to avoid using a damaged ladder. Damaged ladders should be labeled “Do Not Use” and should be removed from use. When using a ladder, always face forward using the three-point contact rule, and do not stand on the top rung of the ladder. OSHA code: 29 CFR 1926.1053

7 – Powered industrial trucks – The powered industrial trucks regulation was cited 2,162 times. The most frequently violated requirements included inadequate worker training, as well as inadequate refresher training. Power industrial trucks include forklifts, tractors, platform lift trucks, motorized hand trucks and other specialized industrial trucks.

Employees must be given formal instruction, practical training and an evaluation of the operator’s performance in the workplace. This training must be conducted by someone who has knowledge, training and experience to train employees and evaluate their competence. Retraining is required for situations following an accident, or if the vehicle is seen being used in an unsafe manner. OSHA code: CFR 1910.178

8 – Machine guarding – This general industry citation was given 1,933 times for instances of no machine guards and exposure to points of operation. Machine guarding must be used to prevent the operator and other employees in the area from hazards created by the point of operation, nip points, rotating parts, flying chips, and sparks. The point of operation is the area on a machine where the work is performed on the material being processed. The guard must not create any new hazards or interfere with the standard operations of the machine. OSHA code: 29 CFR 1910.212

9 – Fall protection – training requirements – This standard, which was cited 1,523 times, is new to the OSHA top 10 list and is specific to the construction industry. The most common violations were failing to train workers on identifying fall hazards and failure to train them on the proper use of fall protection equipment. To avoid this violation at your workplace, employees should be trained in a language they understand. Training should cover recognizing the hazards of falling and how to minimize those hazards with different types of fall protection. Employees should also know how to inspect their fall protection equipment. OSHA code: 1926.503

Electrical box10 – Electrical-wiring methods– With 1,405 violations, electrical-wiring methods was number 10 on the list of the most-commonly cited OSHA standards in 2017. OSHA found boxes not covered correctly and too many or overloaded wires as the most frequent offenses. Any conductors entering boxes must be protected from abrasion and any unused opening must be effectively closed. Additionally, boxes must be fitted with a cover identified for the purpose. Conductors should also be protected against overheating due to motor overloads. OSHA code: 29 CFR 1910.305

Texas Mutual policyholders can access resources to help avoid these violations by logging into texasmutual.com and clicking the Safety tab. Our resource center includes a sample respiratory protection program, lockout/tagout e-Learning training and ladder safety posters in multiple languages, among thousands of other resources. Additionally, our safety services support center can help you to identify hazards in your workplace to help you stay off OSHA’s radar. Call 844-WORKSAFE (967-5723) to speak to a safety services representative.

All employers can access free safety resources at worksafetexas.com.

The three-minute videos helping your employees receive better medical care

The health care industry is evolving every day with rapid growth particularly in digital health technologies like smart watches, calorie counter apps and pedometers. Patients can benefit from this transition when there is a united front between quality care and digital innovation.

Workplace diagnosis body map and logoKnowing how to diagnose a workplace injury like trigger finger requires training and experience in occupational medicine. That’s why Texas Mutual is addressing the need for innovation in the treatment of workplace injuries. Texas Mutual’s medical director, Dr. Nicholas Tsourmas, is helping to lead this effort, and one of the ways he is doing so is through Workplace Diagnosis. The tool is the first online, real-time patient diagnosis video tool for physicians treating workers’ comp patients.

By visiting texasmutual.com or using our mobile app, physicians can select an area of the body to watch a video and learn about specific injuries. Each video averages three minutes and features Dr. Tsourmas with a patient discussing a common workplace injury and offering tips on how to diagnose it.

Dr. TsourmasDr. Tsourmas was recently recognized for his achievements in the workers’ compensation health care field when he received the Medical Professional of the year award at Work Comp Central’s Comp Laude Awards. His work is helping ensure that Texans with occupational injuries are accurately diagnosed and treated, and have options for modified job duties during recovery.

Dr. Tsourmas has been with Texas Mutual since 1993. Since then, he has traveled throughout the state to give onsite training to our network providers and educate the medical community on workers’ comp and musculoskeletal ailments. The same training he shares with providers throughout the state is shared with Texas Mutual’s team of adjusters to improve the claim process for injured workers and give our team the tools to understand doctors’ recommendations.

At Texas Mutual, we put a lot of effort into preventing workplace injuries, but when they do occur, we are dedicated to making sure that the injured workers we cover receive the quality care they need. Innovative resources like Workplace Diagnosis are a part of that collective effort. Dr. Tsourmas’ recognition is reflective of his leadership in these areas and speaks to our ongoing commitment to creating a stronger, safer Texas.

Regulatory Roundup, November 17

Regulatory Roundup is a weekly compilation of employee wellness and safety news.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Acosta speaks to silica lawsuit and other OSHA rulings

During an appearance before the House Education and Workforce Committee, Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta said that a lawsuit against OSHA’s respirable crystalline silica rule is “close to a resolution.” Acosta reportedly hopes that there will be a sensible outcome to the rule. He also commented that the agency is balancing the issue of privacy regarding the online recordkeeping rule…MORE

Studies, resources, trends, news

Tips for fall prevention

An estimated 800 falls result in death each year and while the construction industry experiences the majority of these, other industries see a higher number of nonfatal falls. An article posted in EHS Daily Advisor states that the first step to prevention is determining which areas in your facility provide a high risk of falls. Once you understand the danger, then controls, maintenance and inspections can be put into place…MORE

2016 injury and illness rates for Texas are available

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released workplace injury and illness rate data and Texas remains lower than the nation. The Texas incidence rate for nonfatal injuries and illnesses in 2016 was 2.2 cases per 100 full-time workers, versus the national rate of 2.9. This is also a slight improvement over the 2015 rate of 2.3 and shows a continuing trend of improvement…MORE

New legislation seeks to ban asbestos

The number of deaths from asbestos exposure in the U.S. is estimated at 13,500 to 16,000 deaths per year. The Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 2017, introduced Nov. 2, would amend the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to eliminate exposure to asbestos. Specifically, it would ban the manufacturing of commerce asbestos within 12 months and would require the Environmental Protection Agency to identify all uses and exposures to asbestos and impose restrictions on use within 18 months…MORE

Regulatory Roundup, November 11

Regulatory Roundup is a weekly compilation of employee wellness and safety news.              

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Crane operator certification ruling is officially delayed

OSHA published a final rule to delay crane operator certification requirements by one year. The agency intends to propose a removal of the capacity component of certification, which was one of the two unresolved issues in the initial requirements. OSHA stated that it is not prepared to make a determination on the second issue: that a certification does not necessarily mean that an operator is competent or experienced enough to operate a crane…MORE

Department of Labor (DOL)

DOL released Strategic Plan draft

The Department of Labor is pushing to expand OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs in the coming years and is seeking comments on its draft of a strategic plan. The draft includes three overall goals, including supporting Americans who are looking for jobs, ensuring safe workplaces and promoting workers’ compensation and benefits programs. Comments are due by Dec. 7…MORE

Studies, resources, trends, news

Nonfatal injury and illness rates decrease

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released 2016 data showing that the nonfatal injury and illness rates for the private sector decreased slightly from the previous year. Additionally, nonfatal injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work decreased slightly as well. The construction, manufacturing and trade industries experienced significant rate decreases, while the finance and insurance industries experienced the lowest rates…MORE

CPWR says construction related electrocutions are ‘unacceptably high’

Construction workers represented 61 percent of electrocution fatalities in 2015. Although construction industry electrocution deaths are down 39 percent since 2003, the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) called the 82 deaths in 2015 “unacceptably high.” The report pointed to solutions such as personal protective equipment, tool inspection, maintenance and proper equipment such as nonconductive ladders…MORE

Preparing workers for cold weather

Employees who work outdoors could be at risk of cold stress, which can lead to serious health problems. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has educational resources, training materials and recommendations to prepare employers and workers for winter temperatures…MORE

Regulatory Roundup, November 3

Regulatory Roundup is a weekly compilation of employee wellness and safety news.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Assistant Secretary of Labor nomination in announced

President Trump nominated Scott Mugno for the position of Assistant Secretary of Labor. Mugno is currently the VP of Safety, Sustainability and Vehicle Management with FedEx Ground and he has also served on multiple American Trucking Association committees…MORE

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

FMCSANew FMCSA administrator faces the Senate

Raymond Martinez, head of FMCSA, appeared before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee for the first time. One mandate in question was electronic logging devices in commercial motor vehicles, which is scheduled to go into effect Dec. 18 and has received mixed reviews…MORE

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

SmokingCDC researches tobacco users across industries

The CDC released a report showing that the highest number of workers using tobacco products reside in the construction, mining, transportation and warehousing industries. The agency recommends that employers have coverage for cessation treatment and adopt smoke-free policies…MORE

Studies, resources, trends, news

Training on drowsy driving prevention

With the end of Daylight Saving Time approaching, it’s a good time to have a refresher on drowsy driving. The Texas Department of Insurance has a quick five tip presentation to help…MORE

Visualizing safety in your workplace

A recent article from Occupational Health & Safety magazine discusses the importance of your workplace understanding a clear definition of safety. The article presents questions to discuss in order to create a visual model unique to your workplace considering risks and precautions…MORE 

Light bulb hardhatNew manual explains an integrated approach to worker safety, health and well-being

A recent publication from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health explains that focusing on policies and practices to influence working conditions can improve worker safety, health and well-being. The manual includes examples and tools to help businesses initiate integration…MORE

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