OSHA Training and Violations

The Occupational Safety and Health Act was created specifically to make the workplace a safer place; and all its codes and rules and inspections and fines are meant to ensure that protection.  Over the years of its implementation, one of OSHA’s main effects has been to propel companies of all sizes to stay ahead of the curve by creating their own safety departments, inspectors, and incentives, with a corresponding drop in work-related injuries and deaths. However, this can be a daunting task for small to medium sized businesses. One of the best tools to make sure that your company is following OSHA guidelines, is to implement OSHA training online. This will make sure that you are current and up-to-date in your training, without having to hire one or more employees just to implement and instruct on the trainings.

Obviously, not every safety hazard is neutralized and not every accident waiting to happen is averted.  OSHA keeps tabs and publishes yearly reports of OSHA violations, which make for some interesting reading.

For example, one of the most common areas of OSHA violations is lack of sufficient fall protection, with nearly 6800 violations occurring in 2009 alone.  Fall protection, such as guard rails, safety nets, etc, is required at four feet in general industrial settings, at five feet in marine industry, and at six feet in construction.  Scaffolding accidents, with 9000 violations in 2009, include many falls when the scaffold itself gives way; scaffold injuries can also occur when the worker slips and falls or is knocked off-balance while on the scaffolding.  Injuries from ladders, with just under 3100 violations in ’09, is another chief cause of injuries from falls.  With all this, it is no wonder that falls continue to be one of the leading causes of occupational fatalities nationwide.

In 2009, there were 6400 violations for failure to communicate or to label and otherwise convey safety information about the hazards of specific chemicals, compounds, and other items produced or imported by a company.  OSHA’s regulations require such information from point of origin to reception by buyers and users of the hazardous materials.  Failure to give hazard warnings, along with failure to have a written hazard policy and lack of information and training on hazardous chemicals and other products, together received 6800 violation citations in 2009.

Failure to wear hard hats in dangerous areas is still too common in the workaday world.  Another article of protective gear continues to be underused: respirators, which protect workers dealing with dusts, fogs, smokes, gasses, sprays, vapors, or mists.  Respirators also protect the worker in low-oxygen environments, and are a must in many industrial settings; nevertheless, 2009 saw a total of 3800 violations for respiratory protection.  Failure to control exposure to the unexpected startup of machinery or the unexpected release of hazardous chemicals or energy through the use of Lockout tags added another 3300 violations to this set of categories.

Electrical issues comprise a very large portion of violation citations on OSHA’s Top 10 list.  From construction site to assembly line to the front office, that tangle of electrical cords and extension cords is both unsightly and unsafe.  Electrical and electrical wiring violations received 5600 OSHA violations in 2009 alone.  Missing electrical covers and unprotected or poorly designed wiring can be deadly.  Anyone working with electricity, directly or indirectly, needs to be protected from electrical hazards.

Safety, truly, should be the bottom line; and OSHA’s continued efforts to protect us all will hopefully continue to address the multiple safety concerns of our workplace environments.