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Preliminary list of top ten OSHA violations includes eye and face protection for first time

Preliminary list of top ten OSHA violations includes eye and face protection for first time

While the preliminary list of the Top 10 violations for Fiscal Year 2018 (Oct. 1, 2017 – Sept. 30, 2018) remains largely unchanged from 2017, there is a newcomer in tenth place. Eye and face protection surpassed electrical – wiring methods, which dropped off the top ten. Also, fall protection – training requirements, which was a newcomer last FY moved up from #9 to #8.

Topping the list for the fifth year in a row is fall protection, a general requirements standard, which saw a 19.7% increase in citations from the previous FY. There was a significant increase – 25.4% – in citations related to ladders and a 30.1% increase in citations for violations of fall protection – training requirements. Overall, there was a 10.5% increase in the total number of violations.

Here is the list compared with the FY 2017 figures:
1.Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501) – 7, 270 vs. 6,072

With almost a 20% increase, fall protection continues to top the list. Common violations included failure to provide fall protection near unprotected sides or edges and on both low-slope and steep roofs. Roofing, framing, masonry and new single-family housing construction contractors were among the most frequently cited.

2.Hazard Communication (1910.1200) – 4,552 vs. 4,176

Considered low-hanging fruit for inspectors, hazard communication has been #2 for several years. Lack of a written program, inadequate training, and failure to properly develop or maintain safety data sheets (SDSs) are common citations.

3.Scaffolding (1926.451) – 3,336 vs. 3,288

Masonry, siding, and framing contractors are among the most commonly cited employers for this violation. Lack of proper decking, failure to provide personal fall arrest systems and/or guardrails where required, and failure to ensure that supported scaffolds are adequately supported on a solid foundation are common violations.

4.Respiratory Protection
(1910.134) – 3,118 vs. 3,097

Citations related to failure to fit test, establish a program, and medically evaluate employees who wore respirators were common violations issued to auto body refinishing, painting contractors, and wall covering contractors.

5.Lockout/Tagout (1910.147) – 2,944 vs. 2,877

Employers cited under this standard failed to establish an energy control procedure, did not train employees in proper lockout/tagout procedures, failed to develop machine-specific procedures, and failed to use lockout/tagout devices or equipment.

6.Ladders (1926.1053) – 2,812 vs. 2,241

Ladders continued to be a common violation in the construction industry. Frequent violations include using the top rung as a step, ladders with structural defects, failure to have siderails extend three feet beyond a landing surface, and using ladders for unintended purposes.

7.Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178) – 2,294 vs. 2,162

Forklift violations dominated this standard, including deficient or damaged forklifts that were not removed from service, operators who had not been trained or certified to operate a forklift, and failure to recertify forklift drivers every three years. Violations were widespread across many industries.

8.Fall Protection – Training Requirements (1926.503) – 1,982 vs. 1,523

Violations of this standard are increasing and include failing to: provide training to each person required to receive it, certify training in writing, ensure that training is provided by a competent person, and train in the proper use of guardrails and personal fall arrest systems.

9.Machine Guarding (1910.212) – 1,972 vs. 1,933

While cited in many industries, machine shops, fabricated metal manufacturing, and plastics manufacturing saw many citations for failing to guard points of operation, failing to ensure that guards are securely attached to machinery, and failure to properly anchor fixed machinery.

10.Eye and face protection: 1,536 violations

This newcomer to the list includes failing to provide eye and face protection where employees are exposed to hazards from flying objects; failing to provide protection from caustic hazards, gases, and vapors; and allowing employees to wear combinations of prescription and safety eyewear that compromise the protective qualities. Violations were concentrated in the housing industry, with roofers, house framers and other contractors cited often.

Takeaways for employers:

With typically little variation from year-to-year, this list is a reminder to employers that the same violations are putting employees at risk and costing thousands of dollars in citations. Employers can drill down even further and look at the most frequently cited Federal or State OSHA standards by industry for a specified 6-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code.

Proactively identifying hazards and training employees will help reduce injuries and lower costs, as well as reduce the likelihood of employee complaints and referrals that can trigger an unprogrammed inspection. In FY 2017, 56% of inspections were unprogrammed.